What is a Deed of Renunciation?


A Deed of Renunciation is a legal document that you sign when you don’t want to or are unable to act as the Administrator of an Estate. If you’ve been named as an Executor in a Will and you don’t think you can do what’s required, you may need a Deed of Renunciation to remove you from your duties.

Another option is to remain as Executor but instruct Probate Solicitors to deal with the Estate administration on your behalf; and the Solicitors fees are paid for by the Estate.

We can just apply for a Grant of Probate or deal with the complete Probate and Estate administration process for you; see Full Probate Service.

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

Call us on 0808 239 4634 or request a callback

The Role of an Executor

When you make a Will in England or Wales, the usual advice given by a Wills and Trust Solicitor is to appoint more than one Executor. This is in case any of your Executors dies before you or they can’t or don’t want to be your Executor. You can appoint up to four Executors in your Will.

It can be devastating to lose a friend or relative and the thought of dealing with the administration of an Estate could be too much to take on. Knowing what’s involved can help you make that decision with some clarity.

Executors are responsible for the administration of an Estate and the main duties include:

  • Applying for Grant of Probate
  • Settling outstanding debts
  • Collecting in all the deceased’s assets
  • Arranging professional valuation of assets
  • Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax
  • Contacting the beneficiaries
  • Distributing assets onto beneficiaries

How much work is involved in each of these steps really does depend on the value of the Estate and the types of assets owned.

For example, if there are multiple bank accounts, shares and multiple properties this will be a much more complicated Estate than one where there is one bank account and no property.

No Will, No Executor

If there is no a Will, then no one has been named as Executor. Inheritance laws called the Rules of Intestacy will decide who will be the Administrator of the Estate and this is usually a close relative. You can still renounce (resign) your role as Administrator and the responsibility will fall to whoever is next in line.

How to Renounce Your Role as Executor

You can renounce your role as Executor as long as you’ve not started any of the work. This doesn’t include arranging the funeral. But if you’ve already started the Estate Administration process, then you can’t sign the Deed of Renunciation.

If you’re not sure, speak to one of our specialist Probate Solicitors who can give you specialist legal advice about signing a Deed of Renunciation.

If you do decide to renounce your role as Executor, it will be difficult to reverse the decision so you should think carefully about it first.

Power Reserved Instead of Renouncing

Instead of renouncing your role as Executor, if there are other Executors named in the Will, you can step back from your duties. This is known as ‘power reserved’.

You will remain an Executor and only need to resume your duties if the other Executors can’t. This is often done by groups of siblings so one can take the lead but the others can step in if they need to.

Signing the Deed of Renunciation

If you do decide that you want to remove yourself as an Executor, you will need to sign a Deed of Renunciation. This is a legal document, so you can ask a Probate Solicitor to prepare the document and oversee signing it.

You must sign the Deed of Renunciation in the presence of an impartial witness and include a statement saying you’ve not completed any Estate Administration work.

Remember, if you have completed any work on the Estate, you cannot renounce yourself.

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