Ask the Hammer: How can you receive spousal benefits in a common-law marriage?

Jeffery Levine, chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners, answered a reader question about how their mother could receive spousal benefits after their partner in a common-law marriage died.
Author:
Publish date:

"My mom was common law to a man for 24 years, that passed away in 2017- she is having trouble with proving the common law and thus hasn't been able to get any benefits. Furthermore, his mother whom he was practically estranged from, jutted back in after his passing and overstepped in all of his funeral arrangements and financial affairs. She, his other, told my mom she wouldn't see a dime from him and remained as cold and insensitive as I've always known her to be. What can be done in this situation? What does she need to do?"

That's the question Jeffery Levine, chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners, answered in this installment of Ask the Hammer.

Got Questions?

Email AsktheHammer@BuckinghamGroup.com.

More Ask The Hammer:

What Happens after the Successor Beneficiary Dies?

Should I Switch to the Bucket Approach?

Should I Focus on Paying Off a Parent Plus Loan?

What's the Best Way to Handle a Loan to a Family Member?

Must I Start Taking RMDs from an Inherited IRA Right Away?

Does Putting Back a COVID-related IRA Distribution into My IRA Count as My Contribution?

Is There a Tax Break If I Cash In My Series EE Bonds Early?

What Do I Need to Know About the Premium Assistance Tax Credits That Are Part of the American Rescue Plan Act?

How Much of My Traditional IRA Should I Convert Into My Roth IRA?

How Can I Get a $5 Billion Roth IRA?

What Are the Best Strategies to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?

Do Trust Assets Get a Step Up in Basis?