Nonclaim Statute - § 43-2-350, Ala. Code 1975 - Claim of Common Law Spouse

Harbin v. Estess, [Ms. 1170209, July 27, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2018). This decision by Justice Wise reverses the Colbert Circuit Court’s judgment in favor of the estate denying a claim for an omitted spouse’s share of the estate by an alleged common law spouse of the decedent.

The circuit court dismissed the claim because it was filed more than six months after the issuance of letters testamentary and, therefore, barred by the statute of nonclaim, § 43-2-350, Ala. Code 1975. Ms. *7. The Court reversed, holding that a claim by the alleged common-law spouse for an omitted spouse’s share “is a claim of title for purposes of the nonclaim statute and, therefore, not a claim against the estate.” Ms. *14. This result was required because “a determination of whether a common law marriage existed does not diminish the assets of the estate and does not affect the financial status of the estate.” Ibid.

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