A valid last will and testament provides instructions for the disposition of property owned by the testator upon their death. However, the testator must also name someone who can carry out those instructions. That person is known as the executor of the will. Frequently, an executor is generally new to the probate process, and needs assistance to fulfill their various duties successfully. At Denker & Zuhdi, PLLC, our Oklahoma City probate attorneys draw on decades of experience to shepherd executors through the probate process, so they distribute assets in a timely and efficient manner for the benefit of the estate’s heirs.
When a person drafts a will, he or she often nominates a trustworthy acquaintance to complete the allocation of assets consistent with the will’s language. Before appointing an executor, it’s always best to consult that person, to see how they feel about the job. Depending on the size and orderliness of the estate, an executor’s job might fairly straightforward or extremely challenging, especially for someone who has never served as an executor before.
The requirements to be an executor in Oklahoma are as follows:
Most people nominated in wills to be executors accept the appointment and get court approval to act as the personal representative for the estate. However, others seek to excuse themselves for various reasons, including lack of time, lack of expertise and to avoid a conflict of interests. The probate court can also reject a candidate for several reasons, such as “drunkenness, improvidence, or want of understanding and integrity.”
If the named candidate does not assume the role, the court appoints someone else. Often, this person is a close relative who is willing to serve.
Both executors and trustees are fiduciaries. This means they have the legal responsibility to administer property which is not their own for the benefit of parties named in a legal instrument. An executor is charged with carrying out the wishes expressed in a will, and a trustee manages and distributes assets according to the terms of a trust.
The first step in the estate administration process is for someone with knowledge of a will to present the document to the probate court for approval. Once the court decides the will is genuine and valid, the court names a representative for the estate (usually the executor named in the will). The personal representative must then settle the estate, which entails:
The probate process can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the size and complexity of the estate, and the efficiency of the executor’s work. He or she can collect a stipend for their efforts. Often, an executor retains legal counsel to facilitate the process, especially if the executor has extensive work and/or family responsibilities. The executor may direct that reasonable attorney fees be paid from estate assets.
Denker & Zuhdi, PLLC provides legal counsel for executors throughout the probate process. If you’ve been nominated as an executor of an estate, schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced and dedicated attorneys in our Oklahoma City law firm. Call us at 405-946-5533 or contact us online today.
"They always provided reliable and thorough work, and consistently provides a quick response. As a solid business partner, the firm handles our legal needs for corporate contracts and real estate acquisitions, but also handles family matters and is invested in my business as more than just another customer. I know that any time I have legal needs, I can rely on the firm to provide efficient, outstanding results." - –David Ross Chairman and CEO TriCorps Security
"Our CPA Firm has a long relationship with Denker & Zuhdi. We frequently use the Firm for our legal needs as well as to refer our Clients. We want our Client base to have the best Legal representation possible. The firm has always provided very Professional Services to ourselves and our Clients and we have the utmost confidence in the services provided." - –Hamilton & Associates, CPA Carl Hamilton Anna Hamilton
"Having been one of the largest buyers of foreclosures in the state for nearly 30 years, it is the nature of our business to be involved in litigation. We chose Rick Denker as our attorney by using the best method possible. He represented the other side. During this litigation, we saw an intelligent, hard-working man who had common sense. He attempted to resolve the case in the best interest of his client quickly instead of just running up the legal bills. During the past several years that he has represented us, we have been very pleased with his success and would highly recommend him." - –Tana Parks, owner of Ted Parks LLC and Winfield Investments LLC, Tulsa, Ok
"“I believe Rick takes a common sense approach to complex issues and looks for the best resolution in a timely fashion. Rick is very approachable and is easily accessible. Rick has been around in Oklahoma City awhile and knows who to talk to and where to go to take care of your legal issues.”" - –Doug Summers President, Paleo, Inc