Ask the Legal Expert: Are You Overwhelmed by Your Executor Duties?
- AuthorTracy Haddock
"My sister appointed me as an Executor to her Will, but I am finding the process of probate overwhelming, especially at a time when I am grieving. Do I have any options?"
I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Grief can make it very hard for people to focus on the practical matters at hand, but you have three options:
- To renounce (resign) the role
- To reserve your right to apply for Probate
- To appoint someone else to take on the role (this might be a Solicitor, family member or another beneficiary)
If you feel you want to completely opt-out of the role of Executor, you must complete a Deed of Renunciation, which you should officially sign and submit to The Court (Probate Registry). This should be done as early as possible in the Probate process and before you have started organising the Estate. This step cannot be reversed without the consent of a Judge or Probate Registrar.
Once you have renounced, The Non-Contentious Probate Rules deal with appointing someone else to carry out Probate and they must apply for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed so they can deal with the Estate instead.
If there are other Executors who can take on the responsibilities, you can choose to have Power Reserved to you so you can step back from applying for Grant of Probate but can retain some control over the administration of the Estate as the process unfolds. It is possible to reverse Power Reserved if you change your mind in the future.
Alternatively, you can appoint someone – perhaps a Solicitor - to act as your representative and carry out the role of Executor for you. To do this, you would have to apply for a Power of Attorney to allow someone to deal with another person’s Estate. One big advantage of taking this option is that a Solicitor will be able to guide you through the whole process, removing the stress for you.
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. The content does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information only.