Becky Cholewka: Some of the saddest phone calls I have are when I am talking to someone and their partner has recently passed away, and they’re not married. We have a common law marriage. Unfortunately, in Arizona, there is no such thing.
In fact, no states do not have or own a common law marriage. If you’re relying on the fact that you have just lived with someone or someone has been your partner for years, maybe even 20 or 30 years, you have absolutely no legal protections under the law for any of that person’s assets.
That’s really a hard conversation to have because someone who thought that they were going to be taking care of now finds out in the midst of losing someone that they love, that they are not protected at all.
In fact, just last week, I had a conversation with someone, and we’re even talking about that individual potentially losing the house that they lived in for years because they have no legal rights to it.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, the best thing that you can do is make sure that you are moralizing your own goals and wishes down in a will or a trust. That way, you can ensure that your loved one, when something happens to you, is going to be legally protected.