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How to resign as an estate's probate executor

Updated February 21, 2017

You can resign as an executor if you can no longer handle the duties or feel uncomfortable with the level of responsibility. The executor of an estate has various legal responsibilities, including disposing of estate assets, transferring shares to heirs, paying the deceased's final bills and filing tax returns. The executor is personally liable to the heirs if she does not fulfil her duties and causes harm to the estate.

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  1. Prepare an accounting statement showing you have done with the estate so far. Include all assets transfers, bills paid and estate income received. Identify the source and amount of each in an itemised format.

  2. Visit the court handling the estate. Bring the account statement with you. Ask for a Renunciation of Executor form.

  3. Complete the form. Forms vary by court, but you commonly need the case number, the executor's full name, the date of the will and the deceased's name and death date.

  4. Sign and date the renunciation in front of a notary public. You must have the signature notarised.

  5. File the renunciation and the accounting statement in the probate court. Ask for certified copies.

  6. Tip

    The probate court may have a fill-in accounting form available for executors.


    You may have to petition the court for release if the will did not name an alternate executor.

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About the Author

Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

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