What Happens If My Mother and Father Die Together?

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney 

A couple seeking to do estate planning recently asked me about what would happen to their property if the two of them died together at the same time.  Both had children from another marriage, but both parents wanted their respective estates to go to the mother’s daughter.  Fortunately, for us estate planners out there, the law has contemplated this situation.  It is called the Uniform Simultaneous Death Law, §3B:6-4.  The law basically says the property will be split evenly between the husband and wife, and will pass along to their respective successors according to the terms of the will.

So in my example earlier, if their will does not mention what happens in a simultaneous death situation, the mother’s ½ share will go to her daughter, and the father’s ½ share would go to his child.  However, the law allows this to be changed.  So, for the husband’s will, we will have to change it to state that if he were to die simultaneously with his wife, all of his interest in joint property will go to the wife’s daughter instead of his child.

To discuss your NJ Estate Planning matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.