10th Mar 2017

Courts generally appoint Special Administrators instantly, without notice, to attend to pressing issues in an estate. To protect the estate beneficiaries,  the law provides several safeguards against bad acts of a Special Administrator.  Earlier posts have looked at: the requirement for an accounting, the preference for appointment, and bonds.  This post adds the following safeguard into the discussion: Special Administrators have limited powers.

Special Administrators only have the powers granted by statute or court order. Hooker v. Hoskyns, 1958 OK 15, 328 P.2d 404 (Okla. 1958).  The main powers granted by statute are to “collect and preserve” the estate and “commence and maintain and defend suits and other legal proceedings.” Okla. Stat. tit. 58 § 215.  The statute lists the possibility of obtaining leave or permission of the Court for the following items: selling perishable property, borrowing money, leasing real property, mortgaging real property, and giving notice to creditors and dealing with claims if a Personal Representative or Administrator is not appointed within sixty days of a Special Administrator being appointed. Id.

 There is the general phrase, “and exercise such other powers as are conferred upon him by his appointment” that may allow for other actions. Id. However, other important powers are not listed, such as selling real property or distributing property.  It appears those are powers a Special Administrator does not have – in particular without them being enabled by a Court.  The “Oklahoma Probate Law and Practice” treatise recommends that a Special Administrator, “should always obtain an order for any contemplated action.” Id.

So, a Special Administrator is often appointed instantly; however, theirs powers are limited.

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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