predeceased spouse

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“Predeceased spouse” is a term found in probate law. The term refers a person who has died before a spouse they were still married to that held a valid will. According to the California Probate Code § 6402.5, if a decedent’s predeceased spouse died less than 15 years before a decedent, and the decedent never remarried, a portion of the decedent’s estate will pass to the predeceased spouse’s heirs. Under § 59 of California Probate Code, a predeceased spouse is not a person who had obtained or consented to a divorce or annulment prior to the first spouse’s death, unless they later remarried that spouse or lived together as spouses. Further, if a spouse later remarried, they would not be considered the predeceased spouse of their ex-spouse. Finally, a person who had validly terminated all claims to marital property rights would also not be considered a predeceased spouse for purposes of probate.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]