A lot of people in long-term relationships have heard the term “common-law marriage” without really knowing what it means. Common-law marriages are not very uncommon. Even if you think of yourself as a common-law couple that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right to inherit from one another. Let’s take a look at three common questions about common-law marriages and how they can impact your inheritance.
Question 1: What is a common-law marriage?
A common-law marriage exists only under very limited circumstances. If a couple lives together, is of legal age, intends to become married, and present themselves to the public as a married couple, only then can they be considered a common-law couple. However, the couple must also live in one of the 9 states that allow people to get married in this manner.
Question 2: What if we lived together for seven years?
There is no state that has a time requirement associated with common-law marriage. This means that you can become common-law married after a very brief or very long time, as long as you meet the legal requirements. Further, there is no state that automatically declares you to be married if you’ve lived together for a certain number of years.
Question 3: What are my rights as a common-law spouse?
If you are legally married through common-law, you are a married couple just like any other. This means you have the right to inherit from each other if one of you should die.