Wendy K. Tse, a family lawyer in Long Beach, answers:
Spousal support usually ends upon the payor’s death, and it can be reduced if there is a change of circumstances such as the payor becoming disabled. A spousal support recipient could try to protect against support payments from ending with the payor’s death or disability by negotiating a buyout of spousal support where the payor pays a lump-sum to the recipient spouse. Therefore, the payor’s death or disability would not affect spousal support.
Alternatively, a spousal support recipient could obtain some type of security such as a life insurance policy on the payor’s life so that the recipient would receive some money should the payor predecease the recipient. Similarly, a spousal support recipient could obtain disability insurance on the payor; however, disability insurance is usually cost-prohibitive. Additionally, if the case involves a long-term marriage (one of over 10 years in length), the spousal support recipient may be entitled to collect a higher amount of Social Security upon the death of the payor.
Wendy K. Tse has exclusively practiced family law since 1998, with extensive experience in matters pertaining to California divorce, contested custody disputes, child support, and spousal support, among others. She is a member of the Los Angelos County Bar and Orange County Bar Associations and is a part of the Brandmeyer, Gilligan & Dockstader law firm team.