What to Do if an Executor Doesn’t Want to Deal with Probate

Nadia Rimmer
Nadia Morgan
Associate Solicitor Advocate

Being chosen as an Executor of a Will is a serious responsibility and it’s not uncommon for people to decide that they can’t take on what’s being asked of them.

An Executor, chosen by the person who made the Will, has the legal responsibility to carry out the instructions and wishes that are outlined in the Will, along with other responsibilities such as:

  • Registering the death
  • Applying for Probate
  • Overseeing the valuation of the Estate
  • Collecting any money owed to the Estate
  • Paying any outstanding debts
  • Paying any Inheritance Tax or other taxes owed
  • Distributing the assets to beneficiaries

Executors are usually a spouse or close family member, or a Solicitor can also be chosen as a Professional Executor. If you have been named as an Executor of a Will and you’re not sure if you want to take on the responsibilities, let’s look at your options.

Can I Say No?

Yes - you can refuse to be an Executor. It’s easier if you say no when the person is writing their Will, but if that’s not possible you can still refuse.

If you are one of a group of Executors, you can pass the responsibility onto another Executor. But if you are the only appointed Executor in a Will, you’ll need to officially resign in your role through the Court.

Renouncing the Role of Executor

To renounce the role as Executor, you need to complete the PA15 Renunciation document or sign and submit a formal Deed of Renunciation to the Probate Registry. It must be seen and approved by a District Judge or Probate Registrar. Once the PA15 or your Deed of Renunciation has been approved, you cannot get any authority back over the Will, so it’s important to consider everything before renouncing.

If you are considering renouncing your role as Executor, you should do this as soon as possible so you don’t delay Probate or the Administration of Estate. Renouncing your role won’t affect you if you are a beneficiary of the Will.

Power Reserved

If there is more than one Executor of a Will and one of them doesn’t want to be involved, another Executor can apply to the Probate Registry instead. You will receive a Power Reserved notice when the Grant of Probate is applied for. This means that you are still a named Executor and still have authority over the Will, but you have agreed that the administration of the Estate will fall to a fellow Executor for the time being.

Unlike renouncing your role, you can still be involved with the administration of the Will at a later date.

Why Would an Executor Renounce?

There are many reasons. These could include:

  • They don’t have the time
  • They’re unwell
  • They’re elderly
  • It’s too much extra responsibility to take on

Whatever the reason, if the Executor wants to step down from their responsibilities, they can.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

We offer free initial legal advice so get in touch and we can answer your questions. If you’re not sure if you should step away from the responsibilities of being an Executor, one of our Probate Solicitors can discuss your concerns with you.

We can deal with as much or as little of the work you would like us to, from only applying for Grant of Probate or taking on the complete administration of the Estate with our Full Probate Service.

In almost all cases, our Probate fees are paid for by the Estate, and not the Executor.

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.