my dad died. living in colorado. he had a common law wife. what do my sister and i get from him. does his wife get everything?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I am sorry for your loss. The answer depends on your dad's estate plan. He could have had a will, trust, POD accounts and those could have provided all assets to this common law spouse. If he passed without a will or related estate document then the assets go by the rules under the intestate statute.
Also, most people are mistaken as to what a common law marriage requires. In Colorado a common law marriage is established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife in the present, followed by a mutual and open assumption of the marital relationship so as to objectively demonstrate that the parties considered themselves husband and wife. It is much more than merely two people living together. If their relationship did not meet this threshold agreement, they may not be common law married and this determination would have a huge impact on who gets what.
I very strongly recommend that you and your sister speak with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights as to the assets, especially because of the common law marriage issue.