Common Law Wife

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

A common law wife, is a person who has lived in a relationship as if she were someones wife, but whom she never formally married. This concept may be asserted by the woman after the man dies as a basis to inherit from his estate. If the man died without a will (intestate) his assets would be distributed under the laws of intestacy of his state, which do not provide for any distribution to a non-married partner. If the woman could prove under that state's laws that she was a common law wife, the equivalent of a wife, the courts may permit her to inherit.

Our Consumer Webcasts and Blogs

Subscribe to our email list to receive information on consumer webcasts and blogs, for practical legal information in simple English, delivered to your inbox. For more professional driven information, please visit Shenkman Law to subscribe.

Ad Space