What if you don’t want to be an executor of a will?
A relative or a friend has died and has named you as the executor of their will. As such, you are the person who will need to apply for a grant of probate, which is an official document issued by the court and which allows you to administer the estate of the deceased person. It isn’t in every circumstance however that a grant of probate will be required. For instance, if the person has left less than £5,000 or if their estate was jointly owned with somebody else.
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However, what if you do not need such a responsibility, either because of the distressing nature of the circumstance or you just do not feel up to the task? In that case, you can legally renounce your role. For that, you will need to sign a ‘deed of renunciation’; this document needs to be drafted by a solicitor or a probate professional. Once signed, the document will be lodged with the probate registry and unless it is retracted by you, the renunciation is from that moment, absolute.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind before renouncing your role as an executor of the will of a deceased person.
You must not have interfered in the affairs of the estate of the deceased. If you have, you cannot renounce your role as you could be subject to liabilities.
Obtaining a ‘deed of renunciation’ means you are no longer an actor in the administration of the estate of the deceased. As such, you cannot appoint another person as executor of the will.
The probate process will either look to the other executors named in the will, or in the case of a sole executor, the court will appoint an administrator.