“Intermeddling” in an Estate – Can An Executor Walk Away?

The job of Executor is an onerous one. You cannot be forced to take on the job when you are named Executor. If you don’t want it, renounce right away. A renunciation is easy to draw up, and it relieves Executors from their appointment, but it should be done immediately, without any “intermeddling” in the Estate. An Executor can turn down their role right at the very beginning of their appointment, but leave it too long and it may be too late.

What is intermeddling? If an Executor has already commenced their role (gone to the bank or the credit card companies, for example, holding out that they are Executor), then it may be too late to renounce. Simply paying a few bills or paying for the funeral would most likely not be enough, and one could still renounce.

However, if some time has passed and an Executor really needs to “quit” then they must ask the Court for permission to withdraw. If the Court gives permission, the Executor will have to prepare a detailed accounting of everything they have done with / for / in relation to the Estate. Something to consider when “backing away” from the Executor role mid-way through – if the assets are left in a risky / unresolved state, then the Executor could incur personal liability.

This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to provide you with specific advice for your own situation. For more information on estate planning/incapacity planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis on 250-869-1140 or [email protected]. Vanessa practices in the area of Wills and Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna.

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