If my boyfriend of 7 years passed away a few weeks ago without a Will, what are my rights to his things?

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If my boyfriend of 7 years passed away a few weeks ago without a Will, what are my rights to his things?

He had been living with me the whole 7 years and had nothing when he came into the relationship. We bought a car that we put it in his name but payment came out of our joint account. They came and took the car. Do I have any right to it? They are also demanding his things. Do I have to give his things to them? I told them they can have his cloths but they are demanding guitars that I bought for him. Do I have to give those to them? The only thing in his name was the car. We had a joint bank account from which I paid everything; all my paychecks went into it. When a deposit was made, I made it; he never had a job on the books the whole time.

Asked on December 19, 2014 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You need to check your state law on common law marriage.  In some states, a couple is recognized as legally married after 7-10 years.  Here in Arizona, we do not recognize common law marriage.  If the car was in his name, then the dealership has the right to take it back if he died, unless you inherited it due to recognition of a common law marriage.  If the bank account was set up as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, then the money is yours.  If not, creditors may come after it to pay any of his debts.  You should consult a wills, trusts and estates attorney in your state.  All these laws vary by state.


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