WHAT HAPPENS IF MY SPOUSE AND I DIE AT THE SAME TIME?
The Parade of Horribles
There’s an overarching principle taught to law school students. It’s called the Parade of Horribles. It may never be more appropriate than when spouses die simultaneously.
Many people avoid having their estate documents drawn up because they find the topic distasteful. If that’s you, the contemplation of both you and your spouse dying at the same time would be unthinkable.
If you haven’t set forth your final wishes in a legally enforceable will, your estate will be distributed according to the law of the state in which you live. If you have no spouse and no child and die without a will in New Jersey, your estate will pass to your parents. If your parents predecease you, then your siblings will take equal shares. If any of your siblings predecease you, then their children inherit their shares. If you have no immediate relatives, New Jersey will take everything.