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What interesting experiences have you ever incurred regarding a simultaneous death of a husband and wife?

Years ago, we had a case in which a man with children from a prior marriage remarried, executed a Will and left his estate to his second wife. The second wife was also previously married with children, and executed her estate leaving everything to her husband. The Will made no provision for simultaneous death, i.e. if both died in a common occurrence.

As life would have it, there was a fire in their house and both died. The judge was now tasked to determine who died first, as that person's estate would have gone to the other spouse, and of course their children, leaving the other family with no inheritance.

All of the medical evaluations and autopsies could not make a determination as to who died first, the husband or the wife. The Judge knew this could not go on forever and yet, he had to make a reasonable decision which he labored over for quite some time as the estates were substantial in value.

His ruling resulted from an analysis of the 911 tape in which the wife dialed and yelled that the house was on fire. The Judge could not hear the husband in the background; he only heard the wife's voice on the call. Therefore, he concluded that the husband must have already died, and that the estate should be distributed to the family of the wife, as she was adjudicated to have survived her husband.

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