If you have been named as the executor of an estate in a will, and you don’t wish to take on that role upon the will maker’s death, you can give up, or renounce the executorship. To renounce your role as an executor of an estate in Queensland, you will be required to complete, sign and file with the Supreme Court of Queensland a Renunciation of Probate or Administration with the Will form.
Pursuant to the above form, you are required to detail that you were appointed by the will and that you renounce all right to probate of the will. Once the completed form has been filed in the Supreme Court, your rights and responsibilities with respect to your role as executor of the estate will end.
A deceased estate cannot be left without somebody to administer it. Accordingly, if you are the only executor of the estate, and you wish to renounce your executorship, you will need to find someone else to replace you as executor. In those circumstances you can ask the Public Trustee to administer the estate. The Public Trustee will charge a fee to take on the administration of the estate. Alternatively you could ask one of the beneficiaries of the estate to take on the role.
However, it is only possible to renounce an executorship in this manner if probate has not already been granted and you have taken no steps to administer the estate. You can only renounce an executorship if you have done nothing that could be interpreted as you having accepted the role of executor. If you have paid creditors or sold assets of the estate for example, such conduct could evidence that you have accepted the role and responsibilities of the estate’s executor. In those circumstances, the Court could compel you to continue in the role of executor.
Once you have accepted the office of executor, and a grant of probate has been made, you generally cannot renounce that executorship. However, if you have valid reasons as to why you cannot continue to perform the role of executor, and the beneficiaries and the creditors of the estate will not be disadvantaged, a Court may, upon application, allow you to cease acting.
Marino Law has extensive experience acting for executors and beneficiaries with respect to estate administration and disputes. Our highly experienced lawyers regularly advise clients in the following areas:
Should you require assistance in any of the above areas, please contact one of our highly experienced lawyers.