My mother has 4 children; the youngest son never married, nor had any children. However, he has lived with a woman for over 30 years. When designating beneficiaries, if my brother precedes my mother in death, she wants his common-law wife (or domestic partner) to receive his 25% of her estate. What is the correct verbiage to indicate this?

Jeffrey Lippman ∙ August 2, 2019

The first determination is whether the state recognizes common law marriage. Then it needs to be determined whether they qualify as common law spouses. If so, then the rest can be discussed or outlined in a Will. If there is no common law marriage in the subject state, there may be other options. I urge you to schedule a consultation with your LegalZoom provider law firm.

Jeffrey Lippman's offices are located in Leesburg, Virginia. Mr. Lippman is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, and his comments may only apply to those jurisdictions. If your question applies to a different jurisdiction you should check with an attorney in that jurisdiction. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation and any information you provide is not protected by attorney-client privilege.


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