First things first: If your lawyer dies, call his/her law firm. If your lawyer dies and the law firm has died too (e.g. if the lawyer was a solo practitioner) and you want to know what happened to your case files, if the law firm no longer exists, or any other similar scenario occurs … call the Oregon State Bar (OSB): 503-684-3763. They will advise you.
Second things: Lawyers do think about these things (or they should) and they even get wonderful honky-tonk titled articles out of their deliberations on the subject:
From Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips blog, you’ll go to:
When You Go to Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?, by Courtney Kennaday and Reid Trautz, January 2009.
Excerpt: “…Lawyers are always encouraged to plan for their untimely death or disability, so that their clients are not left unrepresented and open to potential harm, and so their families are not faced with the problem of what to do with the practice while still mourning their loss. Articles abound from state bar associations, the ABA Law Practice Management Section, and more. In spite of this, many, many solo lawyers never make a plan….” (source)