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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39580
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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My spouse and I were married in a large 250+ person public

Customer Question

My spouse and I were married in a large 250+ person public ceremony Jan. 25th. 1986. The pastor and /or my spouse failed to file or record the Marriage License. She died testate in July 29, 2004. We filed joint income tax returns 1986-2004, filed loan applications as joint borrowers, did joint will and trust instruments acknowledged by notaries as husband and wife. Even her sister, cousins and friends are still alive to verify our marriage ceremony. I was listed as her husband on her will and trust, death certificate and her Estate Tax Return. I filed her final income tax return in 2004. I have an approved Income and Estate Tax Extension from the IRS with her and my name on it.
City and County of San Diego can't find our marriage license, What do I do to prove I was married to her for 18 years? We were also business partners.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.
Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you tonight.
Here California does not recognize common law marriage.That said anything you jointly owned to you should pass to you under her will, at least her share and you own the other share as joint owner.
You would make application for probate and to be appointed as personal representative.Even if you are not her legal spouse since there was a will you may well inherit here.The fact it referenced you as spouse does not mean you do not inherit here.You were named by name and the court should admit the will here and award you the estate as sole heir under the will.
You will need the lawyer to file the will for probate and assert your claim as the sole heir under the will.If you cannot find a recorded license it does not necessarily mean you cannot inherit.But you really need to probate the will if it has been 11 years or so.
I would locate a local probate lawyer to file for probate and seek to have the will admitted and be declared sole heir here.
I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.
Probate lawyer here.

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