The grounds upon which the court can remove an executor of an estate under Oklahoma law are very broad. The removal of an estate executor in Oklahoma is at the discretion of the probate court on a showing that the circumstances of the estate or the rights of the interested persons in the estate require it.
The governing statute, 58 OK Stat § 58-231, states that:
Any executor or administrator may, at any time, by writing, filed in the district court, resign his appointment, having first settled his account and delivered up all the estate to the person whom the court shall appoint to receive the same. If, however, by reason of any delays in such settlement and delivering up of the estate, or for any other cause, the circumstances of the estate or the rights of those interested therein require it, the court may at any time before the settlement of accounts and delivering up of the estate is completed, revoke the letters of such executor or administrator, and appoint in his stead an administrator, either special or general, in the same manner as directed in relation to original letters of administration. The liability of the outgoing executor or administrator, or of the sureties on his bond, shall not be in any manner discharged, released or affected by such appointment or resignation.
In Matter of Estate Of Walker, the Oklahoma Supreme Court considered the removal of co-executors of an estate. The Court upheld the removal of co-executors as required to protect the estate because one executor took no action to remedy the situations which resulted from the conflicts caused by the other executor’s insolvency and indebtedness to the estate. In addition, lawsuits were initiated by the co-executors without seeking guidance or approval of the trial court in which the estate was admitted to probate.
What Are Grounds To Remove an Executor Under Oklahoma Law?
The grounds to remove an executor are varied under Oklahoma law. The probate court has broad discretion to remove the executor of an estate, but the overarching consideration is if the estate is being harmed by the actions of the executor. Some common reasons that an executor can be removed under Oklahoma law include:
- Failure to follow the terms of the will
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Misappropriation of estate funds
- Conflict between co-executors
- Not administering the estate in the best interests of the beneficiaries
- Excessive compensation
- Conflict with beneficiaries that impedes the effective administration of the estate
- Excessive delay in administering the estate
Whether the removal of the executor of an Oklahoma estate is appropriate will always depend on the specific circumstances in each case. Your Oklahoma probate attorney can help you determine whether seeking to remove an executor is appropriate and worth the time and expense.