11th Mar 2013
In the last post, it was noted that the Watson case [In the Matter of the Estates of Watson, 135 P. 3d 853, 2006 OK CIV APP 55 (Okla. Civ. App. 2006)], stated that, “[i]mprovidence relates to a party’s inability to manage property and assets not to any feelings toward other heirs” in interpreting Okla. Stat. tit. 58 § 126. The final paragraph of that blog entry focused on the practical effects of this:
One important practical application to draw from this line of cases is that in order to challenge the appointment of a potential Administrator of an estate on the grounds of improvidence, the challenger needs to present evidence to the Court of inability to handle money, carelessness in managing assets, likelihood of the estate suffering financial loss, and the like. Presenting evidence of the hatefulness of the potential Administrator and even their animosity toward the heirs will likely not be enough to have the Court find the potential Administrator incompetent by reason of improvidence under § 126.
However, just because animosity toward the heirs of an estate does not automatically legally disqualify a potential Administrator as incompetent by reason of improvidence under § 126, a Court still may weigh such matters when considering the best appointment between persons of equal priority (see Part 9). Just look at the Watson case itself.
In Watson, the trial Court appointed the guardian ad litem of a minor child of the decedent as Administrator over an adult child of the decedent. The trial Court pointed out that animosity between the two children made this arrangement better than appointing co-Administrators or appointing the adult child alone. The Watson appellate Court did not find that ruling to be against the clear weight of the evidence. The animosity may not have legally disqualified the adult child, as the case makes clear, but it appears to have been a major factor in the trial Court not appointing the adult child, which the appellate Court did not overturn.
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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.