It can pay to be polite on the way to the afterlife.
Quite a number of us live in couples. And quite a number of those couples have children.
A normal happy family will see the couples making similar Wills – often called Mirror Wills. Something along the lines of … if I go first you get the lot and if you’ve gone ahead of me – the kids get the lot.
In a perfect world and a perfect family this works out … perfectly.
It makes no difference who shuffles off first – the outcome is the same.
But if the couple’s Wills don’t match each other then the order of death determines the ultimate outcome. Most often most couples do not head heavenwards at the same time. Women (for example) have an uncanny knack of usually living longer than their male spouse.
If a large asteroid were to hit your house at the same time you and your partner were settling into bed, the chances are you would both be killed instantly. Most jurisdictions find this behaviour completely unacceptable. And they demand that one person be deceased before the other.
This is purely to allow one Will to be read before the other.
In some jurisdictions where forensic science cannot determine a “winner”, they assume the the elder of the two went first.
There was a case (I think) in the UK where a couple died without making a Will – the squeamish amongst you may want to look away now – their bodies were so badly decomposed that it was not possible to scientifically determine a time of death for each of them. Each of the deceased had a child from a different relationship. As there was no Will, the person who died last would have inherited their house and that would then have gone on to that person’s child (I hope you’re following this – there will be a test later). Each child Lawyered up and tried to prove that their parent was the last to go. I won’t go into the gory details – you can probably google it. But the Judge was not having any of it and awarded the house to the oldest of the couple.
The moral of this story … make a will today!