A heartbreaking example of why choosing an Oklahoma guardian for your minor children is critical

We all have things in our life that might occupy a small space in our mind, small because we believe the things, while possible, are highly unlikely to happen. 

We allow these items to exist but don’t allow such items them to push us toward action.  One example is planning for your family if something happens to you. 


I don’t write trying to use fear to motivate people.  I detest people who use fear (even if the claim is legitimate) to motivate me.  However, sometimes I come across an example so compelling I am moved to action to write about it, even though fear may function as a motivator. The story at the bottom of this post (if you watched ESPN’s College Gameday on November 30, 2019, you have seen the feature piece done by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi), is one such compelling example. 

The Story

The story below is compelling because about 5 months before Rod and Paula Bramblett were killed by a teenage driver in a freak accident in May 2019, the Brambletts, while sitting down to dinner with their good friends, Andy and Jan Burchman, asked their friends the Burchams to be the legal guardians of the Bramblett’s children, ages 15 and 20.  The Burchams said “yes.”  Within a couple of weeks the Burchams agreeing to what seemed like the highly unlikely role as guardians, on May 29, 2019, the highly unlikely became horrifyingly real:

On May 25, 2019, Rod and Paula Bramblett were killed by a teenage driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car, while waiting at an intersection near Shug Jordan Parkway and West Samford Avenue in Auburn, Alabama.

Guardianship for Minor Children

The subject matter is guardianship for minor children. 

Who will be the guardians of your minor children if you are not able to care for them? 

The State of Oklahoma has a plan for your children’s guardians if you do not make a plan. Far better, is for you to create a plan for your children’s guardians that identifies (a) who the guardians are and (b) what resources the guardians will have.   

This type of plan is usually done through an Oklahoma last will and testament.  You can name who you want to be the guardian and the Court, which has to make the guardianship official, almost always honors your choice.



Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."