14th JULY 2022
It is possible for a Personal Representative to step down from their duties following the death of a loved one. However, there are some limitations to this, which will be explained below.
Can an Executor step down?
If the deceased left a valid Will, they will likely have named an Executor to administer their estate for them upon their death. This is usually a close relative or friend.
An Executor can step down from this responsibility if they need or want to. However, there are two situations where this will not be possible.
Firstly, an Executor cannot step down if they have already acquired a Grant of Probate. If you have been appointed as someone’s Executor and you are having doubts over whether you can handle this position, you should thoroughly think your decision through before applying for a Grant of Probate, as you will not be able to step down once the Grant has been handed over.
Second, an Executor cannot step down if they have ‘intermeddled’ in the Estate. Intermeddling refers to when an Executor begins dealing with the estate administration before receiving a Grant of Probate. This might include selling property from the estate, paying their debts, or even taking over their business. Arranging the funeral and accessing and protecting the property of the deceased is not considered intermeddling.
How to step down as Executor
To step down as Executor, you must contact the Probate Registry with a Deed of Renunciation. This is simply a Deed in which you agree to give up your role and all responsibilities associated with it. You can do this yourself, or you can get another appointed Personal Representative to submit the form for you.
Can an Administrator step down?
Administrators are appointed by the Probate Registry in situations where there is no Will or no appointed Executor. Administrators will not have this role thrust upon them. Rather, the Probate Registry will decide which of the deceased’s relatives have the right to apply for the role, and the potential Administrators can decide whether they would like to take this responsibility on.
Therefore, Administrators need not step down if they do not wish to act as Personal Representative to the deceased; they can simply not apply for the role.
However, once a Grant of Letters of Administration has been acquired by an Administrator, kickstarting the probate process, they are unable to step down from the role.