How do I refuse an appointment as executor of my loved one’s will?

If you are named as the executor under your loved one’s will and you do not wish to serve in this role, you are not legally bound to do so. Perhaps you do not have the time or ability to carry out the many responsibilities associated with this role. Regardless of the reason, you always have the right to decline the appointment. It is important to take the proper actions, however, so as not to cause harm to the estate.

How Executors Are Appointed During an Estate Administration

How exactly do you refuse an appointment as executor of an estate? First, you must understand how an executor is appointed after a person dies, and leaves behind a valid will. The following is an overview:

  1. After your loved one’s passing, the will is submitted to the probate court for approval.
  2. If you wish to serve as executor, you would also request that the court appoint you to this role.
  3. If you do not wish to serve as executor, an alternate executor can instead file this petition. Along with the petition, the alternate executor should state that you do not wish to serve in the role.
  4. If the original will is in your possession, it is important to file it with the probate court regardless of whether you wish to serve as executor.

If you decline the appointment of executor and there were no other executors named as backups in the will, the courts will turn to California law to determine who should be appointed to this role. Certain parties will have priority over others if multiple people are interested in being the executor.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm