Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Established in 1976
Ask the Expert: To what is Fiance Entitled?

Ask the Expert: To what is fiancé entitled?

Karen E. Klein | Guest Author

The problem: I am a widow who's been living with my fiancé for 10 years. I own several properties titled solely in my name, some purchased before we met and some after. My will does not name my fiancé as a beneficiary, but I wonder: is he entitled to any portion of my assets?

The expert: Derrick Rubin, matrimonial and family law attorney,
Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, Great Neck.

The rules: Common-law marriage was abolished in New York State in 1933, so your fiancé isn't entitled to any of your assets under this theory of law. However, he could sue under a "contract," "partnership" or "equity" theory for an interest in your assets.

The strategy: If it's your intention, make clear in your will that your fiancé is not entitled to your assets. If you are concerned about him gaining control of your assets should your health deteriorate, execute a durable power of attorney that appoints a trusted family member to act on your behalf if you aren't able to make financial decisions someday.

How it works: If you don't marry your partner, he won't automatically be entitled to share in your estate. If you do marry, upon your death he'd be entitled to an "elective share" of the greater of $50,000 or one-third of your estate, even if your will does not leave him a penny.

New York recognizes common-law marriages contracted in another state or country if the legal requirements there have been met. So if you and your partner previously lived together in another state, and in that state your relationship qualified as a common-law marriage, New York would recognize the common-law marriage.

The results: Assuming you never marry your fiancé and weren't in a common-law marriage elsewhere, he shouldn't automatically be entitled to your assets. He could sue for a portion of your assets if he made any economic and/or noneconomic contributions to your homes, such as home improvements or design. He would have to prove any such entitlement in court.

Committed to Every Client

  • Derrick is extremely professional and meticulous, as well as patient and kind.

    “Derrick Rubin advised my elderly Dad on his apt lease renewal. Time was of the essence and Mr. Rubin reviewed the lease immediately and met with us to over questions and concerns. He is extremely ...”

    - Former Client
  • Working with Jackie Harounian during difficult situations became a pleasurable experience.

    “Jackie Harounian is professional, very knowledgeable, responsive and above all, kind and understanding. Working with her during difficult situations became a pleasurable experience and I plan to work ...”

    - Former Client
  • Your skill, patience, and calm disposition brought me reassurance.

    “Thank you very much for your help throughout my divorce. Your skill, patience, and calm disposition brought me reassurance during a very dark time. I appreciate everything you have done.”

    - Former Client
  • Lloyd has been the utmost advocate to me to help guide me through the most difficult situation of my life and to help protect my child.

    “I currently am utilizing Attorney, Lloyd Rosen, at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates. Lloyd has been the utmost advocate to me to help guide me through the most difficult situation of my life and to ...”

    - Former Client
  • This firm should be on your shortlist for consideration in any divorce and/or custody matter.

    “I have retained this firm since 2012 for a variety of custody, divorce and post-divorce matters in both Supreme and Family court. I became aware of this firm via a very strong reference from an ...”

    - Former Client
/

Reasons to Choose Wisselman, Harounian & Associates P.C.

  • We will go the extra mile to meet your needs.

    Our professionals will go above and beyond to create a solution that is tailored to fit the unique needs and goals of you and your family.

  • We will walk you through every decision.

    When you hire us, we will get to know you on a personal level, inform you of your options, and help you make the best decisions possible.

  • We will sort out all concerns on your mind.

    Our mission is to put your mind at ease, alleviate your worries, address all concerns, and answer any questions you have along the way.

  • We will always act in your best interests.

    We demonstrate an unparalleled level of commitment to our clients. When you work with us, your needs will always come first.

We Can Help You Move Forward

Request Your Case Evaluation Today
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.