How to Renounce Your Role as Executor

If you don’t want to serve as the executor of the will of someone who’s passed away, you don’t have to. This week Prestige Tax and Trust Services explains how to renounce your role as executor.

What’s an executor?

When somebody writes a will, they appoint a person to serve as the executor of their estate. This person has to apply for probate, and when they receive it, they attain the right to administer the estate of the deceased. The duties of this role involve calculating and paying inheritance tax, paying the debts and liabilities of the deceased (via their estate) and distributing the estate to its beneficiaries.

Renouncing probate

For some reason or another, you may feel that you’re unable to take on the responsibilities of executorship. In this case you can opt out, and to do so you need to renounce probate. This is a matter that with our experience, Prestige Tax and Trust Services can help you with.

In order to complete this process you need to fill out a ‘deed of renunciation’ form, sign it and send it to the probate registry. The deed takes effect, relieving you of executorship duties, the minute you sign it, but you can withdraw it before it’s been lodged with the probate registry. If the deed has reached the registry, you must secure the leave of a district judge to withdraw the document.


You can only renounce your role as the executor of someone’s estate if you haven’t previously “intermeddled” in the affairs of said estate beforehand. Basically if you’ve started acting as the executor of the estate e.g. paid inheritance tax, you’re no longer entitled to renounce the role.

New executor

Once your deed of renunciation has been accepted by the probate registry, you lose your title to probate, effectively relieving you of executorship duties. If the will has other executors, as long as it doesn’t stipulate that a certain number of executors are needed to administer the estate, they can apply for probate as normal. Yet if you’re the only executor and the will didn’t list an alternative, then an application must be made to the court to appoint an administrator for the estate.

Prestige Tax and Trust Services

We strongly advise you to ask a solicitor to draft a deed of renunciation, as it’s a very specific legal process. Our team of experienced legal experts can draft the deed for you, to ensure that you have the ability to renounce your role as the executor of the estate of someone who’s passed away.

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