If my fiancé died, am I recognized as the next of kin or as a spouse?

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2013

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If my fiancé died, am I recognized as the next of kin or as a spouse?

We had a date set and I have a ring on my finger. He owned the house and there is not a will. We lived at my home for 19 months and I have lived in the home he owned for the last 11 months. During this time I have raised his son as my own, as his mother is deceased. We lived in a community property state.

Asked on December 23, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were only engaged and not married then you are not recognized legally as anything.  If he had a son, and only the one son, and was not married, then the son will inherit everything.  Since you have been raising his son as your own, and as the child's mother is dead, you may petition the family court for custody of the boy and ask the probate court to put the boy's inheritance in trust, with you as manager of the trust until he reaches the age of majority.  There is no community property if you were not married.  However, if your fiance had no relatives who will fight you over custody of the boy, you may be OK.  See out a family law attorney immediately.  Also, if no one is probating the will, seek out a probate attorney and get that process started.

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