What Happens if I Don’t Want to be Executor?


You have three options if you don’t want to take on the role of Executor of a Will:

  • You can renounce (resign) the role
  • You can reserve your right to apply for Probate
  • You can appoint someone else to take on the role

We explain these options in more detail below. The option you choose may depend on your reasons for not wanting to be Executor and whether or not there are other Executors or Beneficiaries who are suitable for the role.

If you’re unsure what the next best step is, our Probate Solicitors can advise you. We understand that taking on the responsibilities and duties of an Executor can feeling daunting, so we’ll always handle your case sensitively and patiently to help you reach a decision that feels right for you.

For free initial legal advice get in touch with our Probate Solicitors.

Call us on 0808 239 4634 or request a callback

Renounce (Resign) as Executor

If you want to completely opt out of the role of Executor, you can choose to officially renounce (resign) your position. This is done by completing a Deed of Renunciation, which you’ll officially sign and submit to the Probate Registry (Court). One of our Probate Solicitors can help you with this.

But be aware, once you’ve renounced as an Executor, there’s no going back. The only way it can be undone is through the consent of a Judge or Probate Registrar. So make sure you’re absolutely certain before choosing to renounce.

Ideally, you should renounce your role of Executor as soon as possible in the Probate process and before you’ve started organising the Estate.

Once you’ve renounced, you have the option of appointing someone else to complete Probate. They’ll need to apply for Letters of Administration which allows them to officially deal with the Estate instead.

Apply for Power Reserved

If there are other Executors who can take on the responsibilities, you can choose to have Power Reserved to you. This allows you to step back from applying for Grant of Probate, but still keeps the option open if you need or want to help with the administration of the Estate later down the line.

This is a good option if you’re unsure whether you want to take on the full responsibility of Executor but you’d still like some involvement, or it’s impractical for you to sort out things like paperwork e.g. if you live abroad.  

Unlike Renunciation, it’s possible to reverse Power Reserved if you change your mind in the future, so this is a good choice if you’re wanting more flexibility.

Appoint an Attorney

Another option you have is to appoint someone to act as your representative and carry out the role of Executor for you. To do this, you’ll have to apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal document that allows an individual to deal with another person’s Estate.

This would usually be a last resort if the named Executor lacks the ability to carry out their duties and there are no other named Executors.

What Does an Executor Do?

Executors are responsible for sorting out someone’s Estate and assets after they die. There may just be one Executor named in a Will, or there can be up to 4.

This is an important role, as there can be a lot to sort out when a person dies, such as their home, possessions and savings.

An Executor is in charge of:

  • Registering the death
  • Notifying HMRC, DWP and companies such as utility providers
  • Applying for a Grant of Probate
  • Closing down the deceased’s bank accounts and settling any outstanding debts
  • Calculating and paying tax g. Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax
  • Gathering and valuing all the Estate assets
  • Distributing the assets according to the Will
  • Providing Estate accounts

How We Can Help You

If you’ve been named as Executor and you’re unsure what to do next, our Probate Solicitors are here to help. We offer a Full Probate Service and Grant of Probate Application only service so we can work flexibly to your needs.

We understand that the role of Executor isn’t for everyone and it’s okay if you’re not feeling up to the job. Get in touch with our Probate Solicitors today to discuss your situation and we’ll work with you to find the best solution.

For free legal advice call our Probate Solicitors

We're happy to help

Monday to Friday 8:30am-7:00pm

0808 239 4634

0808 239 4634

We're happy to call you

Simply click below to arrange a call

Request a Call Back

Request a Callback

This data will only be used by Simpson Millar in accordance with our Privacy Policy for processing your query and for no other purpose

Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.