If a friend of mine was a common-law wife for 41 years but the husband passed away a year ago, what rights does she have to his property?

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If a friend of mine was a common-law wife for 41 years but the husband passed away a year ago, what rights does she have to his property?

His children are trying to push her out of the home she called for 7 years. There is no Will or Trust.

Asked on October 9, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  This is a very sticky situation.  Has she established herself as his common law wife in those 41 years?  There is a certain "test" the law uses to determine if there is a common law marriage.  First is holding yourselves out as husband and wife.  There is also filing of tax returns.  Having joint assets.  Etc.  But the state they live in must recognize common law marriage (or a state they lived in before).  California does not. Tell her to get some legal help.  Good luck.  


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