Presumption of Survivorship Law and Legal Definition

Presumption of survivorship means the presumption that one of two or more victims of a common disaster survived the others, because of the supposed survivor’s youth, good health, or other reason rendering survivorship. However, there is no presumption of survivorship as to any person or persons who suffer death in a common disaster. Likewise, it is equally clear on authority that there is no presumption that all died at the same time.

In Carpenter v. Severin, 201 Iowa 969 (Iowa 1926), the court observed that “At common law, there is no presumption of survivorship. This results in a rule that a claimant must establish the fact of survivorship, as a condition precedent to his right to recover property; and only that party can succeed whose right is not dependent upon such a condition. The English law, refusing to follow the presumptions of the civil law, deems the relative order of dissolution, in the absence of proof, as unascertainable in law as it is in fact. Likewise, it is a rule quite universally adopted that survivorship is a fact to be proved by the party asserting it. The majority rule also holds that there is no presumption as to simultaneous or co-instantaneous death.”