If for whatever reason, whether its personal or otherwise, you don’t want to take up the role of the executor there are ways to do so.
A letter or form of renunciation can be signed before you take up the role, which allows you to reject the right to the Grant of Probate from the beginning.
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This has to happen at the outset though, because you cannot relinquish your role once you become involved in the deceased’s estate. If you are at all unsure, you must not interfere with the proceedings until you make up your mind.
If you have in any way interfered with matters of the estate, then you will not be able to renounce your role as the executor because you are likely to cause a liability when it comes to the administration of the estate.
When does renunciation take effect?
Renunciation takes effect as soon as the form of renunciation has been signed, however you are still able to withdraw the form before it reaches the Probate Registry.
If the renunciation has already been logged with the Probate Registry, you would need to obtain a legal authorization from the District Judge to retract it.
Where can I get the form of renunciation?
A letter/deed of renunciation can be drafted up by either a lawyer or probate professional.
Can I transfer the role of executor to another person?
The letter of renunciation does not give you the power to transfer the Grant of Confirmation to another name.
The next of kin, however, can apply to take over the role or transfer it to another name. If they agree, they can submit your letter of renunciation at the same time.
What will happen to the probate proceedings if I renounce my position?
Unless the will states a minimum number of executors and if there were other executors named in the will, they will take over the responsibilities and can apply for Grant of Confirmation.
However, if you are the only executor, then the Court would have to appoint another person to take your place, whether its the next of kin or anyone else qualified for the position.
What happens if there is no will?
If the deceased left no will, then the estate would have to be managed under the rules of intestacy. This means that the court would appoint the next closest family member to administer the estate.
Normally, the most entitled person is the spouse but if they choose to renounce their role as administrator then the next person down the line (e.g. children, parents, siblings) can take over the position.
If there are more than one person that is eligible (e.g. three children) then the others do not need to officially renounce the role. If for example one child decided to take upon the role of administrator, then the other two do not need to sign a form of renunciation to show that they are not dealing with the estate.
What if I want to unofficially reduce my involvement, or put it on hold without going through renunciation process?
Sometimes it may not be convenient for a person to be an executor due to long distance or work commitments, however if they still want to be part of the process at a later date or at a reduced capacity, they can do so.
If you are one of two or more named executors appointed by the will, you are able to unofficially leave the daily matters of probate to the other executor(s) under the clause of ‘powers reserved’. As an example, this can apply to children of a deceased parent where one of the children lives closer to their parents home at the time of death and the others can be power reserved.
Executors with powers reserved do not attend the Probate Registry or sign any forms. Keep in mind that if you are the only executor, or an administrator of an estate without a will, you cannot be power reserved.
To obtain ‘power reserved’ yourself, all you have to do is to fill in the appropriate Probate Application (PA1) form and the Probate Registry will take care of the rest for you. If a solicitor or probate professional are doing it for you, then will create an appropriate document called the ‘notice to a non-proving executor’.