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Cases of Interest: Death of Spouse
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ARIZONA: Van Emmerik v. Colosi, ___ Ariz. App. ___, 972 P.2d 1034 (1998).
An action for the dissolution of a marriage abates with the death of one of the spouses, but the probate court may consider any transfer of property in violation of a preliminary injunction in the dissolution case.
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ARKANSAS: Hamilton v. Hamilton, ___ Ark. ___, 879 S.W.2d 416 (1994).
Since pending divorce action terminated because of husband's death, wife had right to elective share of husband's estate; fact that wife would receive more property by electing against will than she would have received in divorce action did not mean that election statute violated equal protection.

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COLORADO: In re Estate of Westfall, 942 P.2d 1227 (Colo. Ct. App. 1996) (released 1997).
The wife's designation of her brother as the beneficiary on solely owned accounts to which she transferred jointly held marital funds after filing a dissolution action was not a transfer or encumbrance prohibited by the automatic stay provisions of the state equitable distribution statute.
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INDIANA: Johnson v. Johnson, 653 N.E.2d 512 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).
The dissolution proceeding did not survive the husband's death, and neither the competing interests of the husband's minor children nor public policy warranted deviating from the general rule against survival of divorce actions.
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KANSAS: Wear v. Mizell, ___ Kan. ___, 946 P.2d 1363 (1997).
The husband had no equitable claim to the proceeds of life insurance policies owned by his wife, who died during the parties' divorce proceedings shortly after changing the designated beneficiary from the husband to her parents.
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MONTANA: In re Estate of Goick, ___ Mont. ___, 909 P.2d 1165 (1996).
The wife was the surviving spouse for purposes of intestate succession even though the trial court had previously stated that the parties were divorced, because no order had been entered purporting to terminate all marital property rights.
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NEW YORK: In re Estate of Agliata, ___ A.D.2d ___, 636 N.Y.S.2d 255 (1995).
The right to equitable distribution survived the husband's death because the trial court had previously rendered a decision granting a divorce, even though it had not yet entered a judgment of divorce.
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VIRGINIA: Sprouse v. Griffin, ___ Va. ___, 458 S.E.2d 770 (1995).
When the husband died during the divorce proceeding, the trial court retained in rem jurisdiction to determine the ownership of escrowed proceeds from the sale of the parties' home.
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VIRGINIA: Griffin v. Sprouse, ___ Va. App. ___, 448 S.E.2d 152 (1994).
After husband's death before entry of divorce, trial court in pending divorce action lacked jurisdiction to determine distribution of marital funds that parties' attorneys held in court-ordered escrow.
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