29th Mar 2012

The last post looked at Okla. Stat. tit. 58 § 122 and the basic order of priority for Administrators of estates of persons dying intestate – or without a Will.  That post sought to begin answering the question: who can be appointed Administrator?  This post focuses on the other side of the issue: who cannot be appointed Administrator?

Okla. Stat. tit. 58 § 126 is a key place to start.  It states in full:

 “No person is competent to serve as administrator or administratrix, who, when appointed, is:

1. Under the age of majority.

2. Convicted of an infamous crime.

3. Adjudged by the court incompetent to execute the duties of the trust by reason of drunkenness, improvidence or want of understanding or integrity.”

The introduction states “no person.”  This seems to indicate that if a person falls into one of the three numbered groups, there is no room for a probate judge to make exceptions – for example for a mature 17 1/2 year old, or a former infamous criminal with decades of reformed behavior since, or even someone approved by consent of the parties.

The first disqualification is a bright line: 18 years of age is the age of majority in Oklahoma. 

On the second disqualification, the term infamous has been applied at times by courts in Oklahoma to a broader range of crimes than one might think.  Attorneys and other persons involved in estates where this provision may apply need to do close research and investigation on this point. 

And of course the third disqualification contains more vague language, but it indicates that if someone were to be disqualified for things like improvidence or lack of integrity, it would take a court finding.  This assumes a challenge and response from interested parties in the estate which would fully flesh out the details of that particular situation and allow the judge to make a case-by-case determination.

If our office may be of assistance to you in these areas, do not hesitate to contact us at (580) 279-1496 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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