Definition - What does Surviving Spouse mean?
The term "surviving spouse" may simply be defined as a widow or widower. In other words, it refers to a person who is the spouse of the deceased at the time of the death. For a person to be called a surviving spouse, it is necessary for that person to have lived continuously with the deceased—from the time of the marriage until his or her death.
Justipedia explains Surviving Spouse
If a spouse outlives his or her partner, then he/she also has the legal rights with respect to the property or any other assets of the deceased. As per some statuary schemes, in order for someone to be a surviving spouse, he/she must outlive the deceased by at least 120 hours.