Simultaneous Death




A simultaneous death is a situation where both spouses die at the same time.  When I say “at the same time,” I’m referring to spouses dying within one year of each other.  It happens a lot more often than I would expect.

The scariest simultaneous death is a situation with little children and the parent’s death results in orphans.  However, in my experience, the more common situation is a simultaneous death with other spouses.

It’s a real testament to the power of relationships when one spouse dies and within a few days or months the other spouse dies.  I believe it’s the result of grief and loss.

When folks have wills and trusts, the issue with death is avoiding probate.  Imagine, for the sake of attorney/client privilege, that there is a husband who died of cancer in June.  By September, the wife is in the hospital with cancer.  Coincident?  Maybe.  But I think most of the time it’s due to grief.  The mind can have powerful influences over the body.

The children in this situation are devastated.  When they call me, they are nervous, anxious and upset.  For me to discuss the assets seems trite; yet, if the children want everything to be secure then they have to make sure all the assets are properly funded into the living trust.  Otherwise, there will be a probate.

If there are children under the age of 18, you must have permanent guardians named for your kids.  I shutter to think of all the parents who just ignore the need for simple planning to prevent fighting among their family.  We always think that death is something that happens when you’re older.  But there is every reason in this situation to prepare for the possibilities.

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