I have been working with a young woman who had been in a common law relationship for many years. Everything was wonderful then her partner had a major stroke and died. There was no updated will, legal contract or written agreement and suddenly her life changed drastically. As she was grieving her partner’s death his adult children entered the house and indiscriminately threw out most of the contents of the house. She had lost “the Love of her life”, her “treasures”, her security, her home and the relationship she had with his children and really floundered for a long time.
In many places partners in common law relationships have no rights when someone dies if there is no legal contract or will. People often think they do have rights and have never really checked it out. I felt heartbroken working with her but there was nothing I could do to help her retain the things she “thought” were hers.
If you, a friend or a parent are in a common law relationship take time to talk with a lawyer and put things in motion so that this will not happen.