19th Mar 2012

Who is in charge of administering an Estate if the deceased person leaves no Last Will and Testament?  The purpose of the next few posts is to look more closely at this issue.

In an earlier post, it was stated that whether a deceased person has a Will or not affects at least two important areas in probate: a) who receives the deceased person’s property and under what terms; and b) who manages the deceased person’s estate.  That post also mentioned that Okla. Stat. tit. 58 § 122 is a key statue in determining the administrator if there is no Will. 

Looking more closely at the contents of § 122, first of all, it applies to the administration of an estate of a person dying intestate – or without a Will.  Other statutes govern the administration of an estate of a person dying with a Will.  Second, it states that one of the persons it lists must be appointed to administer the estate.  Third, it establishes an order of priority among the list of persons, which is set out below:

“1.  The surviving husband or wife, or some competent person who he or she may request to have appointed.

            2.  The children.
            3.  The father or mother.
            4.  The brothers or sisters.
            5.  The grandchildren.
            6.  The next of kin entitled to share in the distribution of the estate.
            7.  The creditors.
            8.  Any person legally competent.” 

One important issue this statute raises is the importance of choosing a person to administer one’s estate through estate planning in advance.  It is not difficult to imagine cases where this list might not produce the wishes of a decedent or the best administration of the estate. An obvious example would be anyone who wished a friend, in-law, step-relative, outside advisor, or any other non-relative to administer their estate instead of a family member.  Another might be a single adult with minor children (or without children) who wished a sibling to administer their estate instead of an elderly parent. 
If our office may be of assistance to you in these areas, do not hesitate to contact us at (580) 338-6503 or at coryhicks@fieldandhicks.com or using any of our contact information in the profile.  You can also visit www.fieldandhicks.com for more information. 

This blog contains general information and the opinions of the author – not legal advice; you should seek the advice of competent counsel (attorney/lawyer) when considering any legal issues. 

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