There's also a issue when a married couple die in a plane crash (or car crash, etc) that sometimes potential heirs raise. If one spouse survived (even by a few seconds) it can alter who gets the estate especially if one (or both) have children from a previous relationship.Setting up a trust or will and or joint ownership arrangements is just like buying an airplane; doing your homework up front pays big dividends.
Probate laws, although similar, vary from state to state. For example, in some states, it is prudent to include “self proving” features in a will. Even a surviving spouse can have difficulty completing probate without such a provision. And lawyers fees are extremely variably, and not necessarily related to the quality of their service. How jointly owned assets are titled is important. For example, there is a big difference between “spouse and spouse” and “spouse or spouse.”
I cannot get into specific details but I am going, barring a settlement, to get called to testify in such a case here in the near future. Suffice to say while, to a layperson, both victims would be "dead as soon as the plane hit the ground" (to quote opposing counsel), the autopsy evidence indicates that one victim had injuries and related findings that indicated that they were likely clinically ("legally") alive for at least a couple of minutes post-crash. The pathologist who performed the autopsy and myself (I was present for the autopsy documenting assessing the injuries as part of my injury biomechanics research) have both been subpoenaed.