Oversight of a will executor helps safeguard testators' wishes

Whenever Oklahomans create wills or trusts, they may not think much about what happens once they die. They generally assume the provisions of their documents will generally distribute their properties and assets as they intended. In the vast majority of cases, this is what happens. Sometimes, though, the executors or administrators of wills or trusts fail to perform their duties as stipulated in these documents and as required by law.

To ensure that administrators and executors within each judicial district court are fulfilling their required duties competently and without damaging the estates they are managing, district courts will require them to file reports at least once each year that show the conditions of the estates and whether their properties and assets have been distributed according to the terms laid out by the testators.

So, what happens if an administrator is not executing the terms of a will or trust? Fortunately, Oklahoma law provides general guidelines that permit a court to step in and halt proceedings for a variety of reasons. Among these are verifiable suspicions that the administrator is mismanaging or embezzling the estate's assets and properties, that the administrator intends to or has committed fraud against the estate, that evidence suggests the administrator is incompetent to fulfill the terms of a will or trust and that the administrator has neglected to meet the person's duties outlined in the will or trust.

In any of these cases, a judge can suspend the executor's powers until the suspicions or charges have been investigated. The judge can then appoint a special administrator to take over the execution of those parts of a will or trust that are under suspicion. Areas of the will or trust that are not under suspicion can remain under the control of the original executor or administrator.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes, "Title 58 Probate Procedure - (ยง58-234)," Accessed March 29, 2015

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