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My husband has recently died. He was collecting a pension…

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My husband has recently...

My husband has recently died. He was collecting a pension check from the pipe fitter's union. Our marriage was common law for 20 yrs. Do I have the right to a partial check?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Texas

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
1/17/2018
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 7 months ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
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Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry for your loss.

It depends on the terms of the pension. A common law marriage in Texas, also known as informal marriage, is treated the same as a formal marriage. They can require you to submit affidavits proving the relationship, but once you've done that, you receive all the same rights as any other surviving spouse. What that means is, if the pension typically pays benefits to surviving spouses, you're entitled to a share. Or if they provide for any sort of payment to listed beneficiaries, it's possible you'd be able to claim payment under that.

The starting point is to go through any documentation you have to see what the plan says. If you don't have it, call and ask them to send you the plan documents. You can subpoena them if necessary, but hopefully they won't make you go through that.

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Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 7 months ago

If your husband was receiving Social Security benefits, you may also be entitled to claim a portion of those benefits as a surviving spouse. It depends on whether you're getting paid based on your own record and what your share of his benefits would be. Legally, you can get whichever payment is more, plus a one time death benefit of $255.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reply WITHOUT RATING so I may address them. My goal is to provide you with excellent service. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so I get credit for the time spent speaking with you today. Mobile users may have to scroll to the right. Thank you.

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Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 7 months ago

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