The role of an executor or administrator is an important one in Oklahoma probate. An Oklahoma estate has an executor when the estate is testate (the decedent left a valid will). An Oklahoma estate has an administrator when the estate is intestate (the decedent died without a valid will). Both an executor and an administrator are fiduciaries with duties to faithfully administer the estate for the beneficiaries, and their responsibilities are largely the same.
Who Can Serve As an Oklahoma Executor or Administrator?
The executor of an Oklahoma estate must be, at the time the will is admitted to probate:
- At least 18 years old,
- Not be convicted of an infamous crime (a felony), and
- Not adjudged by the court incompetent to execute the duties of trust by reason of drunkenness, improvidence, or want of understanding and integrity.
Who Has Priority To Serve As Executor?
A person named in the decedent’s will to serve as executor has priority to serve as executor of the Oklahoma estate. If the person is not qualified to serve, then they will not be appointed.
Who Has Priority To Serve As Administrator?
If the decedent did not leave a valid will, then Oklahoma law governs who has the priority to serve as the administrator of the estate. The order of priority for appointment as administrator of an intestate Oklahoma estate is:
- The surviving husband or wife, or some competent person whom he or she may request to have appointed.
- The children.
- The father or mother.
- The brothers or sisters.
- The grandchildren.
- The next of kin entitled to share in the distribution of the estate.
- The creditors.
- Any person legally competent.
If the decedent was a member of a partnership at the time of his decease, the surviving partner must in no case be appointed administrator of his estate. 58 OK Stat § 58-122.
If more than one person claims preference to serve as administrator and they are equally entitled, then whole blood relatives have preference over relatives of the half blood. 58 OK Stat § 58-123. For example, if the decedent had two brothers, but one of them is a half-brother, the decedent’s brother with whom he shares both parents would have priority to serve as administrator of his estate.
Can an Out-Of-State Executor Serve In Oklahoma?
Yes, a non-Oklahoma resident is permitted to serve as an executor or administrator of an Oklahoma estate. However, a nonresident executor must appoint an agent who lives in the county where the estate is being probated. The agent accepts any legal process related to the estate on behalf of the nonresident executor. 58 OK Stat § 58-162. The appointment of the agent must be in writing. The writing must give the proper address of the agent and must be filed in the office of the judge of the Oklahoma district court where the appointment is made.