• did you at least have wills drawn up to protect your interests ? you should call an attorney, ASAP +
  • You should have common-law marriage rights. Most states have a 6 or 7 year cohabitation-to-common-law-marriage ruling. It should be easy to find.
  • where i live, in your situation you would not be entitled to have anything... because you didn't marry. so you have no say in what her relatives do to her estate. but that happens if you live here. where you live, might be another story!
  • Get yourself the best probate attorney money can buy and fight.
  • Common Law Marriage Common law marriage is permitted in a minority of states. To be defined as a common law marriage within the states listed below, the two parties must: agree that they are married, live together, and hold themselves out as husband and wife. Common-law marriage is generally a non-ceremonial relationship that requires "a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of man and wife, and an assumption of marital duties and obligations." Black's Law Dictionary 277 (6th ed. 1990). Before modern domestic relations statutes, couples became married by a variety of means that developed from custom. These became the elements of a "common-law marriage," or a marriage that arose by operation of law through the parties' conduct, instead of through a ceremony. In many ways, the theory of common-law marriage is one of estoppel - meaning that parties who have told the world they are married should not be allowed to claim that they are not married in a dispute between the parties themselves. Currently, only 9 states (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas) and the District of Columbia recognize common-law marriages contracted within their borders. In addition, five states have "grandfathered" common law marriage (Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) allowing those established before a certain date to be recognized. New Hampshire recognizes common law marriage only for purposes of probate, and Utah recognizes common law marriages only if they have been validated by a court or administrative order.
  • Things that you bought together, the family has no right to. If you've been together 20 years, this would be almost everything so I don't seen them getting much. They also don't know everything that she has, so what they don't see they probably won't know exists. (hint, hint.) If they ask about something, either it was given away or sold or you don't know. When people die about 99% of their stuff is worthless anyway, so we're only talking about a few items. Decide what they are and what you want to do with them. If they're a bunch of vultures, they'll be after valuables. Make sure they have to remember what they are. Don't let them find them on their own.
  • Well, now, let's see shall we? You state your own gender as "female" in your profile. Which implies that your relationship was homosexual. (You were living together as a couple, in other words.) Maryland does not, as yet, recognize same-sex marriage. Which means any common-law marriage issues (if Maryland has common law statutes) do not apply here. Does this mean you are not entitled to any of her belongings? Not necessarily. There is a lot more to consider here as well. The nature of your relationship, the legal contracts the two of you entered upon, financial dealings, and so forth are all things that may weigh in your favor in court. For example, if she was to be shown to be legally endebted to you financially, for some reason, then this may be used to present a case wherein you may be able to keep her belongings as a means to make good on those obligations. Now, your case is INFINATELY enhanced in the legal system if there is a Will, or other such legal document between the two of you. Any legal document which addresses survivorship and what to do with ones belongings should they pre-decease the other individual carries great weight in the legal system.
  • I'm not familiar with all the ins and outs of Maryland family law, but I would strongly suggest that you contact an attorney ASAP (as others here have advised you to do). . I've got a couple of friends in the Maryland House of Delegates who are trying to change this situation, but they have not succeeded yet. . Call Lambda Legal at 212-809-8585. They should be able to put you in touch with an attorney who can help you. . Could you do me a favor and keep this question updated with how this situation turns out for you? If there's anything I can do to help, all you have to do is ask.
  • After 20 years, everything in the house rightfully belonged to both of you equally. Now, it's rightfully your stuff. They have no right to any of it (unless she had a will and left specific things to specific people). If anyone takes anything, you should call the police and report it as theft!
  • How the hell do they know what's hers and what's yours? give them a couple of plates some forks and spoons and a couple of T-shirts and say "This is all her stuff."

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