2 Examples of Death Affecting an Oklahoma Estate Plan
A number of people are involved in the creation and management of a will or trust, and the death of any of these individuals can greatly impact your Oklahoma estate plan. Reviewing your estate plan to make sure that your wishes will still be carried out in the event of an unfortunate family death is very important.
Stacy, a single woman, created a will, leaving her modest amount of money and property to her mother, her only living parent. Ten years later, both Stacy and her mother passed away while bungee jumping in Costa Rica. Because Stacy named no contingent beneficiary in her estate plan, the probate judge must look to the state inheritance law, which gives everything to her only living sibling, her estranged brother, Robert, whom she has not seen for fifteen years.
Roger named his wife, Janice, as the successor trustee of his revocable living trust. Under the wise guidance of his estate planning attorney, Roger named his sister, Joan; his son, Jason; and his best friend, Charles, as additional successor trustees. Six years later, Roger, Janice, and Joan passed away while visiting Roger’s mother. Because Roger had named backup successor trustees, his trust’s administration continued smoothly under Jason’s direction, preserving Roger and Janice’s nest egg and keeping nosy relatives and neighbors from learning their financial details.
It is crucial that you select backups for your personal representative, executor, or successor trustee in case the first person you named passes away (even if it is before you). If you named no alternate, or not enough alternates, then depending on your estate plan’s terms, your loved ones may be able to pick the successor person or a judge may have to look to state law to determine whom to appoint as the new person in charge. For Oklahoma families who are prone to conflict, this type of situation could spell disaster.