Continuing the discussion of the important of creating a valid will before you die, especially for unmarried partners, we will discuss the special laws in Texas allowing for common law marriages. As one of a minority number of states that recognizes the validity of common law marriages, Texas courts will uphold the validity of a common law marriage that complies with state law. Texas law requires you to be able to adequately prove the existence of a validly created common law marriage in order to stake an inheritance claim to your deceased common law spouse’s estate. To do this, you must be able to prove you were married at common law by showing that you held yourselves out to others as married.
If you die without a valid will, and you were never legally married to your common law spouse, Texas law favors your living blood relatives over your purported common law spouse. This result may not be what you would have wanted, and your estate may pass to those you were never close to. Thus, creating a valid will by complying with the Texas Probate Code is important for everyone, especially those married at common law or those who believe they are legally married at common law.