Qualifying Widow(er) filing status
If your spouse died in 2009, you can use married filing jointly as your filing status for 2009 if you otherwise qualify to use that status. The year of death is the last year for which you can file jointly with your deceased spouse. You may be eligible to use qualifying widow(er) with dependent child as your filing status for two years following the year of death of your spouse. For example, if your spouse died in 2009, and you have not remarried, you may be able to use this filing status for 2010 and 2011. This filing status entitles you to use joint return tax rates and the highest standard deduction amount (if you do not itemize deductions). This status does not entitle you to file a joint return.
Source: Understanding Taxes - Glossary - irs.gov
Income Tax Glossary » Letter
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