What if I do not wish to act as an Executor under a will?

Where a will appoints an executor, they have the greatest entitlement to apply for the Grant of Probate to administer the estate of the deceased.  However, if the executor is unwilling or unable to act, then they may reserve their right to become an executor.  There may be many reasons for this; they lost touch with the deceased or they have moved, perhaps to a different country. They may themselves by unwell or incapacitated, or they may have doubts as to the validity of the will.

If the executor’s reluctance is only temporary in nature, then they may ‘reserve’ their right rather than ‘renouncing’ it entirely.  In order to do this the other executors applying for the grant must give that person notice that they are applying for the grant of probate without them.  The Probate Registry will then make a note on the Grant that the person wishing to reserve their executorship has done so.

This means that, in future, if that person wishes to ‘revive’ their executorship and act in the administration of the estate, they may do so.   If the executor wants to relinquish completely their right to a grant of probate, they may make a renunciation provided they have not intermeddled in the estate, that is carried out any actions which an executor would perform in the course of administering the estate.  Unlike having power reserved, a renunciation of the right to probate is usually irrevocable and absolute. Therefore, the right may not be revived in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

If you have any questions regarding obtaining a grant of probate, do not hesitate to contact our Probate Department on 0207 703 5034 or by emailing laura@meaby.co.uk.