CHAPTER 234 - DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY - SIMULTANEOUS DEATH

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY WHERE THERE IS NO SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT PERSONS HAVE DIED OTHERWISE THAN SIMULTANEOUSLY, AND TO MAKE UNIFORM THE LAW WITH REFERENCE THERETO.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. No Sufficient Evidence of Survivorship:--Where the title to property or the devolution thereof depends upon priority of death and there is not sufficient evidence that the persons have died otherwise than simultaneously, the property of each person shall be disposed of as if he had survived, except as provided otherwise in this act.

Section 2. Beneficiaries of Another Person's Disposition of Property:--Where two or more beneficiaries are designated to take successively by reason of survivorship under another person's disposition of property and there is no sufficient evidence that these beneficiaries have died otherwise than simultaneously the property thus disposed of shall be divided into as many equal portions as there are successive beneficiaries and these portions shall be distributed respectively to those who would have taken in the event that each designated beneficiary had survived.

Section 3. Joint Tenants or Tenants by the Entirety:--Where there is no sufficient evidence that two joint tenants or tenants by the entirety have died otherwise than simultaneously the property so held shall be distributed one-half as if one had survived and one-half as if the other had survived. If there are more than two joint tenants and all of them have so died the property thus distributed shall be in the proportion that one bears to the whole number of joint tenants.

Section 4. Insurance Policies:--Where the insured and the beneficiary in a policy of life or accident insurance have died and there is no sufficient evidence that they have died otherwise than simultaneously the proceeds of the policy shall be distributed as if the insured had survived the beneficiary.

Section 5. Act Not Retroactive:--This act shall not apply to the distribution of the property of a person who has died before it takes effect.

Section 6. Act Does Not Apply if Decedent Provides Otherwise:--This act shall not apply in the case of wills, living trusts, deeds, or contracts of insurance wherein provision has been made for distribution of property different from the provisions of this act.

Section 7. Uniformity of Interpretation:--This act shall be so construed and interpreted as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law in those states which enact it.

Section 8. Short Title:--This act may be cited as the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act.

Section 9. Repeal:--All laws or parts of laws inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.

Section 10. Severability:--If any of the provisions of this act or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances is held invalid such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are declared to be severable.

Approved April 18, 1945.