Have you ever wondered what would happen if you and your spouse died at the same time?
Well it depends…
Jointly owned assets such as bank accounts, motor vehicles registered in joint names and real property owned as joint tenants, would be transferred to the younger spouse ‘by way of survivorship’, as the older spouse would be found to have died first and therefore such assets would be included in the younger spouse’s estate and distributed according to the younger spouse’s Will.
Solely owned assets would fall into the estate of the owner of the assets and distributed by that spouse’s Will.
Commonly, each spouse’s Will leaves their estate to the other spouse. When spouses die at the same time however, such gift cannot take effect, because the other spouse has not survived them by the necessary 30 day period as required by law. Thus, the gift to the spouse will not take effect and the estate will be distributed among the default beneficiaries as allowed for in the Will.