When a common law spouse dies, who is the beneficiary of their property if there is no Will?

I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years, living together for 1 years He recently passed and his mother went into my

house without my knowledge and took all of his belongings. Is this legal?

Asked on May 31, 2017 under Estate Planning, Colorado


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all merely living with someone, no matter for how long, does not automatically create a common law marriage. In CO, to have a legally recognized common law marriage, the couple must: cohabitate, mutually agree to be married, and openly hold themselves out to the public as married. When making a determination as to whether a common law marriage exists, the court will consider such things as: did the couple file joint federal or state tax returns, did they list the other party as a spouse on insurance forms and/or retirement plans, did they have joint finances, such as bank accounts or own property together, and the like. If you had a valid common law marriage, then as the surviving spouse you had inheritance rights. If, however, no commom law marriage was formed, then your boyfriend's children, if any, would be first in line to inherit. If he had no children, then his parents would be his legal next of kin.

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