A predatory marriage is best described by the facts in a recent case. Riding together in a car on the way to the funeral home after the death of 100-year-old Irving Berk, his 47-year old caregiver announced for the first time to his sons that she had married their father one year earlier. Matter of Hua Wang, 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2578 (Surr. Ct. Kings Cty., 2018).

A predatory marriage is defined as one where one party lacks capacity and the other party exploits that weakness and has them secretly marry to gain a portion of the estate. It is an example of elder financial abuse and it is on the increase due to the surge in the number of elderly. Due to a defect in the law, it is difficult to prevent such a claim from being recognized. However, a recent legislative proposal could force the wrongdoer to forfeit their claim against the estate.

Right of Election