Last year, a daughter applied for an injunction to stop her father, who was worth over £1 million, from marrying his long term partner; her father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so she argued that he did not have the capacity to get married.
The daughter had the authority to apply for an injunction as her father had given her a Power of Attorney before developing Alzheimer’s despite his previously saying that he wanted to marry his partner.
The father drew up a Will in 2013 leaving £300,000, most of his pension and the right to live in his home for two years to his partner. His three daughters would share the rest of his £1.7million Estate. If the father remarried then his Will would be revoked by the marriage and, as he did not have capacity to prepare a new Will, he would not be able to prepare a replacement and would die intestate.
Under the Intestacy Rules his new wife would receive almost £1 million, dramatically decreasing his daughters’ shares.
Conflicting assessments as to the father’s capacity were undertaken and eventually the case was transferred to the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection are a specialist Court making decisions surrounding those with limited or no capacity in a particular area.
After a third hearing, Judge Nicholas Marston ruled the father had the capacity to marry and urged the other parties involved to ‘find a way of moving forward together after this very bitter dispute’.
As this case highlights, mental capacity is a very complex and intricate area of law and can be difficult to determine. If you would like further information on capacity please contact our Hilary Buckle, the head of our Private Client Team, on 0118 958 9711 or [email protected] Hilary also offers a one hour fixed fee meeting for £95 inclusive of VAT.