The duties of the executor vary depending on the specifications of the deceased person's will. Distribution or sale of property, paying taxes and debts and notifying banks, credit card providers, the post office, insurance companies and others of the person's death are some of the duties you are expected to handle as an executor. If you feel you are unable or unqualified to serve as an executor of a will, you can remove yourself by filing the proper paperwork in probate or surrogate court. A new executor or will administrator may be appointed by the court.
Reasons to Decline Executorship
You may have specific reasons why you cannot serve as the executor of a deceased person's will. Common reasons include illness, lack of time, family disputes or a fragile emotional state that prohibits you from sifting through the deceased person's possessions, selling off property or contacting banks, health providers and relatives to let them know of the person's death. Since being an executor is an enormous task that can take many months to complete, carefully consider your options. It may be best to decline the responsibility if you do not feel you can fulfill your duties.
Read More: Reasons to Remove an Executor in PA
Dropping Executor Role
To decline the role of executor, you will have to file a renunciation form with the local probate or surrogate court. You can download this form on most state government websites or contact the probate or surrogate court to have the form mailed to you. Include your name, the name of the deceased and your address on the form. You do not need to include the reasons why you are declining to serve as executor. Sign the form in front of a licensed notary. The notary will then apply his official notary seal to the form. File the form with the probate or surrogate court. After filing the renunciation form, you will no longer be considered the executor.
Appointing a New Executor
After you decline to be the executor, a new executor will be assigned by the probate or surrogate court. If the deceased named more than one person to be the executor of her estate in the will, the next person listed may assume the responsibility. If no other executors have been named, the court may hire a trust company or assign the duties of executor to a family member or friend who has expressed interest. The court will evaluate potential executors to ensure they will fulfill all obligations in a fair and honest manner. If a trust company is hired to serve as executor, fees for this service will be taken out of the estate.
Based in the Washington metro area, Jessica Jones has been a freelance writer since 2006, specializing in business topics. Her fiction has also been featured in publications such as "The Jamaican Observer Sunday Literary Supplement" and at websites including HackWriters. Jones earned a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Lesley University.