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If a putative marriage ends in death there are no statutes that control the rights of putative persons. However, most courts treat the good faith party as though they were a putative spouse. The surviving person has full intestate rights at the other person's death, can take actions for wrongful death, benefit from workers compensation, or pension and retirement benefits.


California courts have relied on at least two legal theories to justify the award of an interest in a decedent's estate to a putative spouse. (Luther & Luther, Support and Property Rights of the Putative Spouse, 24 Hastings L.J. 311, 313-317; see also Annot., 31 A.L.R.2d 1255, 1271-1277.) The theory of 'quasi-marital property' equates property rights acquired during a putative marriage with community property rights acquired during a legal marriage. (Blache v. Blache, 69 Cal.App.2d 616, 624 [160 P.2d 136].) Subsequent to the time of Juan's death this theory was codified in Civil Code section 4452: 'Whenever a determination is made that a marriage is void or voidable and the court finds that either party or both parties believed in good faith that the marriage was valid, the court shall declare such party or parties to have ...

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