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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41036
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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My husband just leased a new car. He suddenly passed away on

Customer Question

My husband just leased a new car. He suddenly passed away on Oct 11. Im not sure when or what I need to do about the car. It is in his name only Please help
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: New Hampshire. We are common law marriage
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: i have only contacted the life insurance companes and social security
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: im not sure what I do about notifying his credit cards only in his name or if I can close out our bank accounts and put them in my name only
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question and respond.

Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

I am so sorry for your loss of loved one.You would want to turn in the leased car to the company where the lease is.Only his estate is liable for any debts in his name.So you turn it in and unless he had assets here you can tell them he died insolvent and no probate is planned.Ask them to close the accounts.Do this on the lease and then by letter to the credit card companies here.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Thanks again.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.


The New Hampshire Supreme Court released an opinion on June 3, In Re Estate of David J. Bourassa that clarified the requirements for Common Law Marriage in New Hampshire. The relevant Statute is RSA 457:39. New Hampshire does not recognize common law marriage. However, what the State may recognize is what can be considered a common law marriage by death. The requirements are in three parts:

  1. Cohabitate for 3 or more years preceding death of one partner; and
  2. Acknowledge one another as husband and wife; and
  3. Generally presumed to be husband and wife in the community

This means that a cohabitating couple who is not legally married who have been together for 3 or more years and hold themselves out to be husband and wife are considered legally married upon the death of one partner. It is the death of one partner which triggers the statute if all other elements are satisfied. A couple who simply cohabitate for 3 or more years is not considered legally married under the law.

In the Bourassa case, the couple, David and Deborah, had cohabitated for 10+ years and had one child together. When David died Deborah filed a petition to be declared David’s common law spouse. The Court determined that Deborah had failed to show that she and the deceased fulfilled the last two prongs of the statute. They had not acknowledged or generally been presumed to be married. On the contrary, they were very vocal in making sure everyone knew they were not married.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.You are so welcome.

If you can rat 5 stars it is always much appreciated.

Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

If you can rate 5 stars it is always much appreciated.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That helps alot. Thank you.
Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

You are so welcome.

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