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Can you renounce your duties as executor?

executor Oct 30, 2019

Being named as the executor of an estate is an honour, but it is also a major undertaking. It can be difficult, time-consuming and emotionally draining. You may not want to accept the position because you are either grieving or ageing, or because you reside outside of Alberta, are traveling abroad, do not have the time, do not have the knowledge, do not believe you can handle the position, or simply do not want to act - nor do you have to. It is important to remember that you have the option to renounce your duties as executor.

The procedure for renouncing your appointment as executor is relatively simple - but it must be done prior to the administration of the estate. You cannot renounce if you have taken steps to handle the estate or if you have told people that you are acting as executor - this is called intermeddling. Examples include:

  1. Planning a large and expensive funeral that the estate must pay for;
  2. Advising the bank that you are acting as executor;
  3. Dealing with the deceased's property at Land Titles;
  4. Negotiating with creditors;
  5. Contacting a realtor to put the deceased's home up for sale;
  6. Selling or donating the deceased personal goods; or
  7. Driving and selling the deceased car.

Once you begin acting as the executor of an estate, you cannot simply quit the position. You must request permission from the court. This process includes accounting for all of the funds that have already been dealt with in the estate and for all of the funds that remain. You must also have a valid reason for walking away from your responsibilities (such as an illness or a familial obligation preventing you from acting). 

If you plan on renouncing, we highly recommend contacting our office to complete the necessary legal forms for you to provide to the alternate executors and to the beneficiaries.

If you have questions or concerns about renouncing your duties as executor, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a consultation meeting. Remember, we are here to help!


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