When someone passes away, the “what happens next” is usually dictated by the decedent’s estate plan (if they had one), or by state law, if there was no plan. However, there are special circumstances that apply when a married person passes away but their spouse is still alive. Often times, a family may end up getting “lucky” and avoid some of the major headaches. However, this is not always the case. It can also lead families into a false sense of security because “nothing bad happened when my spouse died”.