I wrote the book on Minnesota probate.

Can you turn down being the executor of an estate?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

You never expected to lose a parent so early in your life. Being a relatively young adult, you thought that you’d have your parents with you for much longer. Since both have now passed away, you weren’t surprised that you had been named the executor of the estate. However, you don’t feel comfortable taking over that role.

It’s reasonable to want to refuse to be the executor of a loved one’s estate. You may not feel prepared to take on that role or may feel that it would be better handled by someone familiar with estate planning and the law. It’s possible to not only refuse this position but also to step down from it even if you accepted it at first.

It’s okay to resign as an executor if you feel uncomfortable with the role

It’s realistic to be worried about the level of responsibility that you would be left with as the executor of an estate. You’ll be responsible for all kinds of actions such as identifying the estate’s assets, transferring items to beneficiaries or heirs, contacting and paying off creditors, filing taxes and more. Since you’ve just lost someone who you were close to, it makes sense to feel overwhelmed and like you don’t want this role.

If you have decided not to accept the role, you will need to tell the court that you do not want to accept the position. If there is an alternate executor listed in your loved one’s will or estate plan, then they may be asked to take over. If not, the court has the option of appointing an alternate on the estate’s behalf.

If you are already the executor and have decided that you need to step down, forms vary, but you will need to ask the court for a Renunciation of Executor form (or one that is similar). Gather information about everything you’ve done so far, and then present your reasons for stepping down to the court. From there, the court will again appoint a new executor, whether that’s someone listed by the decedent or someone the court assigns independently.