When you make an estate plan, you probably think about trusts, wills and other estate planning documents. But, have you ever thought about how the estate administration aspect of your estate will go? Have you ever looked into how the estate administrator or estate executor is chosen? Learning about these aspects of how your estate is handled might help you to make the best decisions about your estate.
One important distinction when dealing with estate administration is knowing the difference between an estate executor and an estate administrator, according to Oklahoma State University. In Oklahoma, the distinction is very simple. An estate executor is the person who is in charge of executing the will. An estate administrator is the person who oversees the probate process when there isn't a will for the decedent.
Whether an executor or administrator is appointed, there are some guidelines set forth as to who can serve. In both cases, the person appointed by the court has to be of the age of majority. The person also has to have a sense of understanding, can't be considered incompetent for any reason and must not have been convicted of a felony (for executors) or infamous crime (for administrators).
When an administrator is named, there is an order of propriety that is followed in Oklahoma. The order is the surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parent, surviving sibling, surviving grandchildren, surviving next of kin, creditors and finally anyone else. If more than one person is contained in the level of survivorship of the administrator type necessary for an estate, one or multiple people might be appointed by the court.
In the case of an estate that has a will, the estate executor is usually someone who is named in the will. The person must accept the appointment to the position. It is a paid position that pays according to the will. If there isn't a stipulation in the will for executor pay, the executor is paid according to Oklahoma state law.
Source: US Legal, "Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Oklahoma" Jul. 25, 2014