We’re committed to each other no matter what I will always take care of her, but we both want to be married.

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If she is able to understand what marriage is and what obligation she is taking on, yes. A dementia diagnosis in itself does not make a person incapable of reaching a valid decision or of consenting to marriage.

To be on the safe side, especially if there is any opposition to this marriage around, get a formal assessment of her current mental capacity done. Ask her doctor who might help with this where you live.

Will it matter very much in practical terms if she isn't able to consent after all?
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Reply to Countrymouse

Why do both of you think the OP is trying to get the money o his significant other? They live in his home, not hers, which suggests he may be the one with more money if either of them has money.
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Reply to caroli1

Depending on where you live and how you have lived as a couple, you may already be considered married by common law. Have you ever represented yourselves as husb and wife? Proof of that would be her using your last name on documents, filing taxes as a couple, being on each others health insurance or other benefit programs offered by an employer, etc. If you have, check to see if your state recognizes common law. I've heard people say if you live together x number of years, you're married, however in Texas that is not true. You had to represent yourself as a married couple by way of some of the things I've listed.

If you don't meet the requirements or it's not accepted in your state, I can think of a few things that might create some issues for you at this point. Does she have children that would stand to inherit certain things if you were not her husband - you might find yourself facing issues when you try to collect as a husband who married her AFTER her decision making skills were documented with that diagnosis. If no children, what about her parents or siblings. Same problem could be created.

Do you know, now, of any family member who would question a marriage now? If not, why not have a family meeting and tell them what you want to do and see how that goes. Or, if you know there will be objections, go see an atty and present him with the family objections you anticipate. Atty may be able to get more info from the doctor to determine if she can make a legal decision like this with her current diagnosis.

If you're in a common law state, like Texas, and decide to go to a courthouse to sign the form (not necessary, but most health insurance companies ask for it now to prevent fraud) keep this in mind: The form will ask what date you consider your common law marriage to have started. Let's say you put a date of 8 years ago when you got together. You have just created potential IRS fraud for yourself and her if you both filed as single all those years. If you do sign this form, you'll have to use a current date as when you consider marriage to have begun....and file your taxes appropriately. If either of you has been getting any kind of welfare benefits the date you enter as start day of common law may also create a fraud issue there, too.

Another thing to consider is as her needs increase, is your additional income going to create barriers for her to get medical assistance - as in a Medicaid bed at a nursing home. Will the cost of her current health insurance increase? Financially, what is best for the two of you? If what you've been doing works, is there some reason you want to legalize your relationship now? Why not just plan a beautiful day out and speak your vows to each other - some friends or family or just the two of you. The piece of paper is good for certain things, but the words and promises to each other ,made and kept until the end, are far more important.
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Reply to my2cents

Man oh man, dementia is not a made for TV movie. There's no music in the background. My husband had EOD at 62. He's 76 now. Here's your future - I'm washing the derrière of a stranger who sometimes remembers to use TP. This is not the man I married. I will protect & care for him as long as I can but it is because of who I am more than who he is. No one is home. It is not a pretty job. I feel enormous pity. He is helpless. These last 6 months aphasia has kicked in. It's tough work.
As an aside I luckily joined a great support group after a few trials and errors. And although it is very helpful no one is able to help because they're all neck deep in it. Unless you are tight as a tick with your lady's siblings or your siblings who are WILLING to help you you're walking into a small hell.
Yes it is noble, But you should get your CNA license and work as a home aid to get a small hint of what you're in for 24/7.
I get well meaning compliments all the time, but I'm here to tell you the shine will wear off; when you have to answer repeatedly to the same questions 20 times; when lots of things you've prepared, or pay to repair, get broken, when filthy & odd things appear in you dresser draws, when cc cards, keys, & clothing get lost, when clean laundry & dirty laundry are neatly folded and mixed together because they want to help, etc, etc, etc. It never ends & gets worse. After 15 years of it, so far, like his mom he has longevity & is in great physical shape. No diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. And he looks great. I trim his beard, nose hairs & ear hairs. I hated doing this but he's helpless. His clothes are always pressed. I spend more time on him than on myself. He looks GQ & I look like a shlep. It is a ravaging disease and will be on you as well.
All this to say…RUN!
Seriously, be the best friend anyone could ever have. Look out for your lady but this disease will end your life as you knew it beginning at the crack of whenever you'll have to wake up your life will be about caring caring caring. Making breakfast, feeding breakfast, cleaning up after breakfast, washing and perhaps diapering an adult, straightening the house or perhaps just changing the bedding at least because now it's almost lunchtime. Always thinking about what to prepare for meals, zipping through a shower for yourself.
Why am I talking so much?
Forgive me but am I the only one who thinks this guy may be the one suffering from dementia?
It never ends.
People you hung out with will distance themselves because, to no fault of their own, how do you relax when you go out with friends & your partner is behaving like a petulant 6 year old who shoots utterances of just almost imperceptible curses that are still just loud enough to make get-togethers uncomfortably awkward. You will not want to do that to them & soon you'll be bowing out of invitations & they will become fewer.
Friends will make noble gestures for a while & then rightfully, and it's only human, will figure life is too short for them to sink into your quick sand, or, most will innocently not know how to manage being with someone with dementia, or, they will have had enough of their own experiences with it in their own families.
And the costs... just in case you think you may score something somehow, I'm not saying you are, but honey babe, I live in a great city in a mortgage free all-paid-up pretty nice house. I'm looking a South Dakota for crying out loud for a memory care facility. In my city it is $10,000.00 a month to pay for care when that time comes & I can no longer manage care for my husband. I will try my best to hold off as long as possible. I'm 70, recently had a rotator cuff surgery & still bathed him, cooked & kept house. In NC memory care is over $4,000.00. I will have to move to a remote part of the US to be able to afford my husband's care & an apt near him for me. If we stay where we are now we'll be wiped out in 7 years & that if rates don't go up.
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Reply to MicheleDL

That is wonderful that you feel this way despite the diagnosis.
I would urge you BOTH to see an Elder Care Attorney and go over all the advantages and disadvantages of getting married. Without knowing both of your financial, insurance background it is difficult to say if it would be a wise move. Many people in this situation get DIVORCED because it makes more financial sense than staying legally married. Much of it just because of Insurance, Social Security, and Retirement investments.
Just because a couple gets divorced in these cases does not mean they no longer care for each other it is strictly because of benefits.

But the basic answer to your question “Can we get married”?
How far has the dementia progressed?
Getting married is a legal contract. Can she legally, morally enter into a contract? If the answer to that is yes then legally you can get married.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Think carefully about the finances and other people involved. Marriage usually invalidates previous wills and makes the person intestate unless and until they make a fresh will. Intestacy usually makes the spouse the major beneficiary, automatically. Beneficiaries of previous wills may have a good reason to question the marriage (and resulting intestacy) and/or any new will made after marriage. If you could end up in this situation, you are buying trouble that could be very upsetting and very expensive. Think carefully about who might be likely to object. Seeing a lawyer now won’t necessarily resolve the problem.

If you and your GF really want a marriage-type ceremony, you should be able to arrange it with a celebrant, without it being a legal marriage and bringing all the legal implications. You can have the dress-ups, vows, reception and all the trimmings, which could be really nice for both of you. Perhaps that's good enough?
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

No. Now that she has dementia she can't enter into any legal or binding contracts. That's what an Elder Care attorney would likely tell you, and that you should have married her when she was competent enough to say I do willingly. Why all of a sudden is it imperative to marry this woman you've considered yourself married to for all this time? Now you want to legalize it, when she's been diagnosed with dementia??????????

Something is rotten in Denmark, except in this case, it's Kansas.
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Reply to lealonnie1
Riverdale Oct 25, 2021
You frequently express such wit!
As long as she understands what "married" is, go for it!
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Reply to Taarna

I think you need to talk to an elder lawyer. There is so much involved with getting married later in life. Her finances, your finances. She may be able to get help easier by not being married to you. Help will be based on her income only. As Sendhelp asked, does she have kids and you have kids? There are stories on this forum where the kids take over and remove a parent, leaving the spouse.

And as said, a Minister should not marry a couple where one can no longer make informed decisions. A marriage is a contract and she has to be able to understand what she is signing.

If SO was married before and is getting income from that marriage, like late husband or ex husbands pension, she may not be entitled to it if she remarries. Not sure how SS works if her's is based on what a husband was getting.

Again, consult with a lawyer. Those caring for someone with dementia burn out eventually. Even if ur able to keep her home, you will need help. No one can care for someone 24/7 and not have a break. And Dementia is unpredictable. No rhyme or reason to it. You need to look at the reality of what is ahead.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Maybe her POA can have a pre-nup drawn up on her behalf, or your behalf. Check the laws in your state. A person with dementia does not automatically become incompetent. Look at all the crazy drunk people getting married in Vegas, never having to be declared 'competent' to be married. And having the marriage annulled the next day.

Are the two of you living in her home, or yours?

If either of you have adult children, check with them, and whoever is POA.

Even when married, we read on here of adult children separating a couple, commandeering the entire finances for one spouse, leaving the other spouse without care or finances. Strange, isn't it?

A benefit to marriage is that, as her spouse, you can be informed of her medical status, consulted about her care. The doctors will automatically talk to you, or at least they used to prior to HIPPA laws. A HIPPA release may still be required.

A downside to marriage is that when applying for help or benefits, couples have considered divorcing to be able to survive financially. Do not know what those issues are exactly.

Couples in a facility have been encouraged by staff, celebrated, and married, without regard to their competency to make an informed decision to marry.

After consideration of many scenarios, is there any reason why the two of you should not be married?

Speak up now, or forever hold your peace.
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Reply to Sendhelp

If you both want to be married… why has it not happened in the 8 years you’ve been together? Why now?
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Reply to LoopyLoo

There's "can we?" and then there's "should we?"... since marriage is not only a civic issue, but also a moral and spiritual one for some people, I guess only you and she can decide the "why" of your getting married. If it a spiritually driven desire, then you should discuss it as a couple with your spiritual elder, pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, etc. This person or persons can also help determine if your girlfriend is capable of understanding what she'd be doing and why.

If it's strictly a personal/civil desire, you'd need to check with the laws in your state to see if there'd be anything from preventing you two from marrying. Please read around this forum to understand what dementia is, how is changes people and why and what taking care of someone with dementia entails, so that you don't have a romanticized notion about it. Wishing you much clarity and wisdom in making this decision together with her.
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Reply to Geaton777

Ethically, if she's not competent to make that legal commitment, you shouldn't be doing that. If you're religious, perhaps you can have a church blessing of some sort, but in my opinion, a legal marriage is not ethical because it appears you're in it for her money.
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Reply to MJ1929
bundleofjoy Oct 25, 2021
i agree with you MJ.

my opinion:
it sounds A LOT like OP wants to take advantage of the person with dementia, and is fishing on this website for legal repercussions/trying to figure out how to do it.

don’t marry the person with dementia. it’s morally very wrong.

it would be a crime.
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