Uniform Simultaneous Death Act

Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Uniform Simultaneous Death Act Mean?

The Uniform Simultaneous Death Act is a U.S. law, created in 1940 and updated in 1993, that distributes properties to relatives if those properties are shared, owned or are connected through legal means (such as will) by two individuals who both die at almost the same time. This law may not be applied if those individuals made a clause in a will that states how properties should be distributed if this scenario happens.

Insuranceopedia Explains Uniform Simultaneous Death Act

The simultaneous death in this law may mean one death occurring soon after another, but not necessarily both at precisely the same time. An example is that of a couple who were in a car accident and whose times of death were pronounced differently. Under normal circumstances, the property of the first person to die would be transferred to the spouse. However, if the survivor dies within 120 hours due to injuries sustained in the initial accident, then legally both people are considered to have died at the same time, and no property is passed between them.

The law was created to dispense with the long and expensive probate process given the scenario of two deaths. Without the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act, the probate court would unnecessarily transfer the properties of one deceased to another before commencing on the distribution.

This law was created by the Uniform Law Commission.

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