One important but often overlooked area in estate planning for the LGBT community involves the right of the surviving partner to control the disposition of the remains of the deceased partner. This is especially an acute problem in Oklahoma since Oklahoma does not allow same sex marriages or recognize same sex marriages performed in another state.
Consider the following scenario: A and B have been in a committed, long term same sex relationship for 17 years. A unexpectedly dies in a car crash. B is devastated by the loss, but soon discovers the funeral home will not recognize B as the next of kin in making funeral arrangements, and will only deal with the deceased partner’s parents, who disapproved of the relationship between A and B. (A left a will, but there was no document allowing B to have control over A’s remains after his death).
In Oklahoma, any person has the right to direct the manner in which his or her body shall be disposed of after death provided the person, prior to death, has assigned such right to another person by executing a sworn affidavit, stating the assignment of such right and the name of the person to whom the right has been assigned. Such assignment would include the location, manner and conditions for disposition of the remains and the making of arrangements for funeral or memorial services.
Does your estate plan with your partner cover the disposition of your remains after your death? If not, then you need to contact an attorney for a review.