Home / Insights / Is it legal to step down as an executor?

Is it legal to step down as an executor?

As part of our Insights series, Is it legal to… we explore the legal options available to you if you no longer wish to be an executor of someone’s will.

What is an executor?

Executors are the people appointed within a will to deal with a person’s property and possessions on their death. They undertake the ‘estate administration’ and have a variety of responsibilities.

Is it legal to step down as an executor?

Simply – Yes! If you do not wish to be an executor of someone’s estate, you can resign from this position (i.e. renounce). HOWEVER – a renunciation can only be done if you haven’t taken any active steps in administering the estate.

How do I do this?

A ‘Deed of Renunciation’ is a deed which sets out your wish to renounce as an executor. Before renouncing, you should ensure there is someone willing to step in and administer the estate.

What if I have begun the administration?

At this stage, trying to renounce could be considered as ‘intermeddling’ and therefore, it may be too late. So, it’s extremely important that if you do wish to renounce, that you do this straightaway!

Are there any other options?

There is the option to have your power reserved. Essentially, if you do not wish to act as an executor now, but you may wish to in the future, you can have your powers reserved and the other executors will continue with the administration without you. If you wish to step in later, then that option is available to you.

Top Tip: It’s ok to ask questions!

When approached to be someone’s executor, make sure you understand the responsibilities before agreeing – this could prevent any unnecessary upset down the line!

If you would like advice on the role and responsibilities of being an executor, our experienced Wills, Trusts & Probate team are always happy to help.

For more information, please visit their service pages, or contact them directly on 01603 620508 or by email.

This article was produced on the 30th November 2023 by our Wills, Trusts & Probate team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.