Q&A Can I resign from being Executor of Alzheimer sufferer’s Will?

Q:        Years ago, I agreed to be executor of a friend’s Will, but as I’ve got older I’ve started worrying about the amount of work it will involve and whether I am up to it. Unfortunately, I can’t ask my friend to find someone younger to take on the job as he is now in a care home with Alzheimer’s. What should I do?

A:        If you wish to resign as an Executor, you must complete a Deed of Renunciation. However, you can only do this following the death of the person who appointed you. If you are sole Executor there will then be the problem of who administers your friend’s estate. If all named executors die before the deceased, or choose to relinquish the role, then it's likely that the beneficiary or beneficiaries receiving the largest proportion of the deceased’s estate would have the right to administer the estate.

If you do relinquish the role, it is best that you do so at the earliest possible opportunity, as things can become complicated if you do so after you have started dealing with the estate. The Deed of Renunciation must be drawn up properly as it is a legal document. It is therefore best to have it drawn up by a qualified Probate Solicitor.

Certainly, if you have any doubts about the executor role you should consider relinquishing it, as even if you made an innocent mistake in administering the estate you could be in breach of your duty and held personally liable for any resulting loss. It is for this reason that executors frequently choose to instruct a solicitor to carry out the administration of a Will. Whilst not all Wills need to go through Probate, many do, and this can involve more than a hundred hours of complex work, including calculating and paying due inheritance tax, finding missing assets named in the Will, and handling claims against it.

This question has been answered by Victoria Wilson, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson


A Partner and Head of our Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax team