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North Carolina, Common Law Marriage, and Estate Planning

Creating a will in Greensboro, North Carolina, requires you to make some important decisions in light of both what you own and what the law requires. Whenever you make a will you must, for example, consider how much your spouse is entitled to inherit upon your death. This includes whether you entered into a common-law marriage or a more traditional marriage with a marriage license and wedding ceremony. Here’s what you need to know about common-law marriage and North Carolina law.

Not Allowed in North Carolina

While there are a small number of states that recognize the ability to become married through common law, North Carolina is not amongst them. To be properly married in North Carolina you must obtain a marriage license and be married through either a civil or religious ceremony.

Moving to North Carolina

Even though North Carolina does not allow people to become married through common law, other states do. If you lived in one of those states and entered into a common-law marriage there, you are still legally married even if you later moved to North Carolina.

The requirements for entering into a common-law marriage differ from state to state, but in general you must be at least 18 years old, agree to enter into a marriage, and both you and your spouse must hold yourself out to the public as a married couple.

Your Will

If you are married, you will have to create your last will and testament with your spouse in mind. North Carolina law guarantees your spouse a portion of your estate, and unless you plan ahead for this it can ruin your estate planning efforts.

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