He is 95 and she is 96. Eddie Harrison and Edith Hill just got married. But is it legal?

These Problems will Multiply . . . He is 95 and she is 96. Eddie Harrison and Edith Hill just got married. But is it legal?

Here is the Story

The two met more than 10 years ago while standing in line to purchase lottery tickets, one of which turned out to be a $2,500 winner. They got to chatting and became closer and closer friends. Earlier this year, that friendship turned into a marriage. At first blush this is a romantic comedy-style story where two very old people fall in love offering  each other wonderful companionship in their declining years.

It’s Not That Simple

Here is how the story becomes a twisted tale:

  • Several years ago Edith was declared legally incapacitated.
  • There are two daughters of Hill who have been appointed at co-guardians of Edith. One supports the marriage and the other is opposed.
  • Drumroll . . . as you can probably guess there is money involved. Hill is projected to have an estate that is worth just a bit less than half a million dollars. With the marriage, assuming it is valid, has a claim on at least some portion of Edith’s estate.
  • Other complicating issues include who, going forward, is in charge of Edith’s care; who gets to determine where she lives?
  • Finally, forcing a dissolution of the marriage and the relationship, which is more than 10 years old, could have significant negative consequences for both members of the couple.

You can read more about the story HERE.

Figuring It All Out

For the time being, a judge has removed both sisters as co-guardians and replaced them with an independent third party who is in the process of looking for a longer term solution. In this particular case, there is no senior living community that is stuck in the middle, but it does, once again, raise the question of how senior living communities address this issue of romantic and sexual relationships between residents.

This question is of course hugely complicated when one or both residents have dementia and there is significant money involved.

How have you handled these kinds of relationships?

What kind of policies do you have in place to address these thorny issues?

Can you actually craft a policy that provides you help and protection?