What are the laws regarding property within common law relationship?
My mother in law owns her own apartment which she shared with her sambo. This week her sambo died and she has not been included in his will so is not entitled to inherit from him. We have been told that because they lived together as sambos his heirs are entitled to half of her property. Is this true? It seems unfair. What can we do? She has no income and has only the apartment.Kind regards
Hey and thank you for choosing Lawline.
This situationen is regulated in sambolagen. The cardinal rule within the swedish legal system is that sambos (common law relation) do not inherit each other by law, Contrary to spouses who are entitled to inherit regardless if they are mentioned in the decedent's will.
What property is regulated within the common law relationship
A common law relationship can cease because of marriage, if anyone of the parties move to a different location or pass on (2 § samboL). When a common law relationship ceases the cohabitants joint movables and habituation is split betweens the parties, given the prerequisite that it has been preempt for mutual use (3 § samboL). The apartment can only be inherited if it was bought for the purpose of it being used as joint housing for the common law wife and husband (5 § samboL). However, a property settlement will only be held if any of the parties calls for it (8 § samboL). From what i can tell from your question the apartment was bought before their cohabitant relationship initiated and therefore should be exempted from any kind of claims from her common law husband's heirs, same goes for the movables.
What can you do?
Within the sambolag there is a possibility to constitute an agreement which serves the purpose of clarifying which property belongs to whom (9-10 § samboL), in this case it will be between your mother in law and her common law husband's heirs. Generally this type of agreement is settle before the common law relationship ends but there is no expressed disallowance to make such agreement after the common law relationship ceases. The legal position in this case is not clear.
What you have heard is true to some extent if the property was bought for common use. This distinction is to be judged individually but as i understand your question your mother in law did not preempt her apartment for the intention of initiating a common law relationship and therefore the property cannot be subject for settlement within sambolagen.
Hope you found your answer.
Best regards,André Blomquist
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