Common QuestionsMy common-law partner died. What legal issues do I need to know about?
In general, the law treats common-law relationships very similarly to marriage relationships. However, there are some key differences, especially when it comes to limitation periods, the deadlines for making certain legal claims. Also, although being in a common-law relationship means that you and your partner qualify as spouses under many laws, “spouse” is defined differently by different laws. This difference may affect your rights and eligibility for certain benefits.
Good starting points include:
- Common Law Relationships: What Happens When Your Spouse Dies, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, covers issues such as pension and survivor benefits, your rights and the rights of any children from the relationship, as well as custody and guardianship of the children.
- If Your Common-Law Partner Dies, from the Legal Services Society, provides an overview of issues such as bank accounts, inheritance rights, and pension benefits.
See our related common questions:
- What legal issues do I need to address when a family member dies?
- I think my relative died without making a will
- See all common questions about family law
- See all common questions about wills &estates
Last reviewed December 2016
- common-law relationship, death of a loved one, unmarried spouses, right of survivorship