The role of an executor can be overwhelming, complicated and stressful. What happens if you have been appointed as an Executor but you don’t want to or can’t take on the role? Luckily, you have options, but only under specific circumstances.

What is an executor?

An executor is an individual or individuals appointed by a Will to manage and administer a deceased estate.

The role of an executor (amongst other things) involves ensuring all assets of the deceased are identified, all liabilities are paid and the net proceeds of the estate are distributed in accordance with the deceased’s Will.

You may have been appointed to act either on your own as executor or together with one or more other executors. It is common for a substitute executor or executors to have been appointed to act in the event that the first appointed executor is unable or unwilling to act.

How do I renounce as an executor?

A person can renounce their role as an executor so long as they have not “intermeddled” with the estate. Intermeddling may include taking actions such as, contacting asset holders, paying estate debts and generally dealing with administration of the deceased’s estate.

An executor who wishes to renounce must notify the Court by filing a ‘Renunciation of Probate’.

Who becomes the executor when an executor has renounced?

If an executor has renounced probate, the following individuals can apply to the court to assume the role:

  1. A substitute executor nominated under the deceased’s Will but, if no further executor was nominated, then;
  2. a beneficiary named in the deceased’s will; or
  3. a person entitled on intestacy (circumstances where a person dies with no will), such as the deceased’s next of kin.

What should you do next?

If you are an executor and do not want to act as the executor of a deceased estate, our team of expert wills and estates lawyers can assist you with renouncing the role, and advise you on your rights and responsibilities.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related Articles


Funding Your Relative’s Aged Care? Understanding RADs

What should you consider when taking contributing funds towards your relative's aged care fees? The payment of nursing home…

Read More

Executor choosing a lawyer

An Executor Can Choose the Lawyer to Carry Out Estate Administration

As an executor you may think you must engage the law firm who originally drafted the Deceased's will. However this isn't the…

Read More

The articles on this website comprise legal general information and not legal advice. The general information presented here must not be relied upon without legal advice being sought. In the event that you wish to obtain legal advice on the contents of this general information you may do so by contacting our office or your existing solicitor.