Dear Ms. Allison: My father married and then, a month later, divorced. He then wrote a Will and gave me a copy. They proceeded to live together and he bought several places. When property was purchased it was put in as husband and wife. Since they were not married, is this still binding? [Name Withheld] in Oklahoma

Dear Writer:

Since they have publicly held themselves out to be married – the problem is that it is most likely they legally created a “common law marriage”. In that case, the property will be hers when he has passed.

Any two adults can own property together without being married, but since your father and his ex have continued to live together and publicly calling themselves married, Oklahoma law will see it that way.

A wife has certain rights to inherit; so, unless he makes a different estate plan, she is likely to inherit.

To your success, Gale Allison

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