You have been given the daunting responsibility of being named as an executor of your late friend’s or relative’s will and aside from discharging the final wishes of their estate; there is the understanding that you also legally own all the deceased assets and liabilities.
These are quite onerous undertakings and either because it would be emotionally difficult or simply just too overwhelming for you to carry out your obligations, you would rather not act as their executor – you do have the right to renounce the role, even after you have been named.
There are two ways to go about relinquishing your appointment:-
The less permanent Power Reserved.
This means that you are unable to temporarily administer the estate, but may wish to do so in the future. In this case, the other executors named or the legal professional involved, can apply for the grant of probate and anything involving the sale of assets and settling liabilities, just requires their permission in writing. You still have the right, at any point in the future to resume your executor’s duties, by applying to the Probate Registry, together with signed approval from the remaining executors.
Completely renouncing your executor’s position
This requires you to sign a Deed of Renunciation, which is lodged with the Probate Service. Legal advice is normally recommended and there are several things to bear in mind if you intend to renounce your executorship.
The most important being that you cannot change your mind afterwards or do anything that might be construed as acting as an executor, even in correspondence. Also if you intend to renounce the role, you cannot be involved in the deceased’s estate in any way, like paying off any debt for instance, which would be interpreted as ‘executor behaviour’ and is a clear indication that you have accepted the position and you cannot then renounce it. However, this does not extend to being involved in funeral arrangements.
Although, we all wish to do the right thing by our friends and relatives, especially in difficult times, the role of executor should not be undertaken if you feel it would be a great burden to you and without knowing the consequences of accepting it.