Simultaneous Death Law and Legal Definition

Simultaneous death refers to death of two or more persons in the same mishap, under circumstances that make it impossible to determine who died first. This can happen by way of accidents or homicide. This is important to determine inheritance, where the title to property or the devolution thereof depends upon priority of death.

In order to alleviate problems of proving simultaneous death, many states in the United States have adopted the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act. According to the Act if there is no sufficient evidence that the persons have died otherwise than simultaneously, the property of each person shall be disposed of as if he had survived. The law is used only when the spouses' wills say nothing about who survived whom - or if there are no wills at all. Each spouse would be treated by the Simultaneous Death Act as though he/she were the survivor.