Widower evicted from marital home

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January 22, 2016

A 75-year-old man has been evicted from the house that he shared with his common-law wife for more than 30 years.

He explained that his common-law wife died in February last year, and two months later, her relatives came to the house, packed his clothes and put them on the driveway. They ordered him to leave and changed the locks on the doors.

"After they threw me out of the premises, a friend who lived in the community gave me accommodation at his house," he disclosed.

"The people in the area are all aware of how I treated my common-law wife very well and provided for her. She never worked during the years we lived together and I was the one who worked and paid all the bills.

"While we were living together, her father died in England and left her some money. She used the money to buy a two-bedroom house, but she did not put my name on the title.

"She told me many times that she was going to make a will that I should live in the house until I die and then the house should go to her nephew. She got a stroke in 2009 and I was the only one taking care of her. I called her relatives many times to assist me to bathe her and they never helped. She did not make a will, although she had promised to do so.

"I had to use all the money I had in my bank account to bury her, and her relatives all know that I did my very best for her. I cannot understand why they would treat me like that because they all know how much I loved her. I have heard her telling her relatives that if she died before me then I should continue to live in the house and the house should go to her nephew. She had no children. These people are very unfair and unkind to me," he said.

Under the Property (Rights of Spouses) Act, you have an entitlement to a half of the property when your common-law wife was alive. The Act states that once a couple lives together for more than five years either party is entitled to a half of the property. Now that you are the surviving spouse, you still have your entitlement to the property. You should contact a lawyer immediately to assist you in solving the problem.

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