Common Disaster

Common Disaster

A set of circumstances in which two individuals die apparently simultaneously.

In a common disaster there is no certainty of who died first, an important issue that frequently arises in the determination of the inheritance of property or the distribution of proceeds of a life insurance policy.

The common disaster clause found in insurance policies and wills is a provision that names an alternate beneficiary in the event that the testator and legatee or the insured and the beneficiary die simultaneously. Simultaneous Death acts are state laws that provide for the disposal of property in the event of a common disaster.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Does a common disaster clause disqualify life insurance proceeds for the marital deduction?
The term "common disaster clause," also known as a "simultaneous death provision," has been loosely used to describe a variety of clauses dealing with presumptions as to the order of death of the insured and the beneficiary.
If you have minor children, you need to name a custodian to care for them in case of a common disaster. You also need to review your beneficiaries, as situations may have changed due to divorce or death.