Common Law Marriage Not Proved and Barred by Laches

Claimant failed to prove common law marriage by clear and convincing evidence of constant cohabitation and general reputation when the decedent also maintained a relationship and household with another woman and there was an unclear reputation of marriage between the claimant and the decedent. The Dead Man’s Act made the claiming incompetent to testify to statements or agreements of the decedent, but she was competent to testify and present evidence as to proof of cohabitation and general reputation. The claimant’s appeal from the decree of the Register of Wills was also barred by laches because she failed to pursue her claim for thirteen years after filing the appeal in the Orphans’ Court. Coleman Estate, 1 Fid.Rep.4th 191 (Bucks O.C. 2023), aff’d, 535 EDA 2023 (Pa. Super. 2/6/2024) (non-precedential).

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