How to Be Removed as an Executor

Failing to fulfill your duties as an executor makes you legally liable to the heirs for losses to the estate. An executor of a will has a tremendous amount of legal responsibilities, and if you don't wish to handle all the work, you must have yourself removed from the position. An executor handles all the final affairs of a deceased person and carries out the directions of his will. The executor also pays estate bills, prepares estate tax returns, transfers and sells assets, and documents everything he does for the probate court.

Before Court Appointment

Talk to relatives about a different executor. Talk to the successor executor first if the will named one. Decide who will replace you. You must use the successor executor if the will named one and he is capable and willing to act.

Tell the person preparing the probate petition you will not serve as executor. The petition preparer notes you will not serve and who the replacement is on the petition itself.

Ask the probate court clerk for a renunciation of executor form. Sign and date the form in front of a notary, who stamps the document; your signature typically must be notarized. File the form in the probate court.

After Court Appointment

Write an accounting statement. You must show everything you have done with the estate as executor. Include all paperwork filed --- such as estate tax returns -- and all assets sold or transferred to heirs. Locate documentation of sales or asset transfers. For example, if you gave an asset to an heir who received the asset in the will, get a copy of the heir's signed release you filed with the probate court. Attach all documentation to the account statement.

Contact the probate court. Ask the clerk for the rules on resigning as an executor after appointment. You need the accounting statement, but additional court requirements differ by county. You may need to petition the court for permission before filing the statement and a renunciation form.

Visit the probate court. Ask for a renunciation of executor form. Complete the form. Sign and date in front of a notary public, who will stamp the form.


  • Keep up with your executor duties until a court formally removes you if you've already been appointed.