Can a domestic partner who is considered a spouse by common law marriage get the death benefit of a policy with no named beneficiary?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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It’s possible for a common law spouse to receive life insurance death benefits when no beneficiary is named on the policy if the common law spouse is the executor of the deceased’s estate or if the couple lives in a community property state. As the executor of the estate, the common law spouse would be required to settle all debts and then could allocate any remaining assets according to the will. If there is no will, the common law spouse could allocate the assets as they see fit. In a community property state with common law marriage provisions, they would not only be given the death benefit proceeds, but would also be responsible for the debts of the deceased partner.

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