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 their death.
Justipedia explains Surviving Spouse
If a spouse outlives their partner, then they also have 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, they must outlive the deceased by at least 120 hours.