Friday, April 17, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Two significant trust & estate bills are now on the Governor's desk for signature

BREAKING NEWS: The Oklahoma legislature sent two significant bills to the Governor this week, dealing with trust & estate issues.
  • HB1149 provides for strict application of an in terrorem clause of a will in an action to contest the will, if the party contesting the will does not prevail.  This new law (if approved by the Governor) will eliminate the "good faith" exception to enforcement of in terrorem clauses.  The law will also impact judicial reluctance to enforce in terrorem clauses based on the doctrine that equity abhors a forfeiture.
  • SB774 contains amendments that would allow a trust to exist in perpetuity so long as the absolute power of alienation is not suspended beyond lives in being plus 21 years. The statutory amendment (if approved by the Governor) would provide: “The absolute power of alienation is not suspended if there is any person in being who, alone or in combination with one or more others, has the power to sell, exchange, or otherwise convey the real or personal property.” These amendments appear to be directed toward the suggestion that the Oklahoma constitutional prohibition against perpetuities is a prohibition against suspension of the power of alienation. Click here for commentary on this proposal. 
BONUS UPDATE: On April 7, 2015, the Governor approved SB725which expands the Oklahoma slayer statute to persons who have been convicted of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult under 21 O.S. 843.3.