Simultaneous death act

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Simultaneous death acts are state probate laws that alter how assets are to be allocated when two people become deceased within a short amount of time. The laws apply to individuals whose passing alters how assets would be allocated under intestacy and treat the deaths as if each passed before the other. For example, if John and Sarah are married and both die in a car crash, the law would act as though each died before the other even though that is impossible. Otherwise, normal probate procedure would require the assets of the first passing spouse to go through probate, and then the second spouse’s assets would go through probate. The length of time that people are considered to die simultaneously differs by state, but 21 states and D.C. have adopted the 120 hours limit from the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]