Can I Decline Serving as an Executor?

Generally, when a person is writing a will, they talk to the person they plan on naming as their executor to let them know that such a responsibility is coming. This is, ideally, the best time to decline being named as executor. However, circumstances may lead to you being named executor of an estate without any warning, the court could appoint you executor if there is no will in place, or your personal circumstances may have changed and you are no longer able to serve in the role. Regardless of why you want to decline being executor, there is a way in which you can do so.


Submit a Renunciation of Executor Form


The only legal step you need to take before the court has appointed you as executor (either as directed via the will or in the case of no will in place) is submit a Renunciation of Executor form. This form states that you have no desire to serve as the executor of the estate. You will submit this form to the probate court and, once reviewed and approved, you are no longer obligated to serve as the estate’s executor. You do not need to provide a reason for declining the appointment.


Stepping Down After Being Appointed


However, if the court does officially appoint you as the estate’s executor, you can still step down or resign. You will, however, need to petition the court to officially remove you from the position. You will need to have a reason for asking to be removed, and the court can deny your request. You will be required to submit a list of everything you did while serving as the executor, including any assets you sold or debts you settled as well as receipts and other supporting paperwork.


Why Step Down?


There can be a number of reasons why you may want to decline serving as an executor. You may not feel like you have the experience needed to handle the estate, especially if it’s a fairly large estate. You may also have health concerns that prevent you from fully performing the duties of the executor. You may have time constraints that would impede your ability to act as the executor. No matter what your reason, if it’s valid and another executor can easily be found, the court will likely have no reason to deny your request.


Need Help?


If you wish to resign from serving as an executor, the law offices of Michael F. Kanzer & Associations can help you file the correct paperwork. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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