How to remove an executor from your own will

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By Chloe Dickenson
Updated on Friday 12 November 2021

changing executors in your will

While no one really likes to think about the subject of death or preparing for death in any way, it is an important subject to broach as you approach later life, especially when it comes to matters relating to your will.

Writing a will isn’t a legal requirement, but it can make everything much easier to handle once you pass away as it helps to identify beneficiaries who stand to gain something from your will. 

There’s also the matter of appointing an executor of your will who will be in charge of handling your estate when you pass away, so it’s important to choose the right person for the job so that you can rest assured your estate will be left in the right hands.

However, sometimes issues can arise when it comes to an executor of a will and if you need to change an executor or appoint a new person to take charge due to certain circumstances, it’s important to know your options.

When it comes to removing an executor from a will, there are several ways to go about doing so. Take a look at our guide below on how to remove an executor from your own will.

What is an executor of a will?

The executor of a will is the person in charge of overseeing the estate of the deceased; it is their responsibility to manage the affairs of the deceased’s estate and ensure that each beneficiary receives their legal claim.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you choose the right person for the job as it comes with a lot of responsibility and it isn’t always an easy task to undertake.

How to remove an executor from a will

Unfortunately, sometimes issues can occur with executors and there may be a need to remove your appointed executor from your own will.

Once your will has been written and is legally official, in order to make any changes to it, such as removing an executor, you will need to make a codicil. A codicil to a will is an extra document that acts as a supplement to your will that explains or changes your original will. In other words, it enables you to make small changes to your will without having to create a new one entirely from scratch.

By having a codicil to your will, you will be able to make necessary changes such as changing or removing an executor from your will if you no longer want them to be responsible for dealing with your estate once you die.

The best and easiest scenario for removing someone from your will is if they simply resign from their position. If they’re willing to resign, you don’t need to worry about completing lots of paperwork or making any extreme changes; if they resign themselves, you can simply just appoint another executor.

However, if the current executor of your will refused to resign but you no longer want them to be in charge of your estate’s affairs and you don’t have a codicil to your will, your next option would be to take the current executor to court if they won’t step down from their position.

Of course, this is usually a worst-case scenario but if there is a reason for you to want to remove the executor but they’re refusing to, taking them to court might have to be the way to go.

When it comes to contesting an executor of a will, you can take them to court if they refuse to resign but you have a valid reason for the removal of an executor. In this case, you will have to present reasonable grounds for removing the executor of your will, including:

  • They refuse to apply for probate, which means the estate cannot be dealt with or distributed accordingly.
  • They’re not carrying out their executor duties in an appropriate manner. Determining whether the executor is unsuitable or not is quite problematic, but generally speaking, a person is considered to be ‘unsuitable’ for the role if they’re thought to be stealing from the estate, they fail to comply with a court order, they fail to keep correct accounting records or they’re mismanaging the deceased’s estate in some way.

Unfortunately, you cannot remove an executor from your will just because you’ve had a disagreement or if the beneficiaries are not happy with the appointment of the executor; there must be a valid reason for removal.

If you believe you have a right or reason to remove an executor from your will, you should get in touch with a solicitor who can assist you with the matter, but unless there is a valid reason for removal, you may not be able to.

If the court agrees that there is a valid reason to remove the executor from your will, they have the power to appoint a new executor at your choosing or they will appoint a professional executor to avoid any further family disputes.

How much does it cost to remove an executor in the UK?

The amount of money that it costs to remove an executor from a will depends on numerous factors, mainly the solicitor that you choose to carry out the process for you. In some cases, it can cost thousands of pounds to take an executor to court and challenge their role in your will, so it should always be treated as a last-minute option and where possible, you should try to encourage the executor to resign from their position to save a lot of headache and hassle for you both.

Of course, the issues and potential complications involved in removing someone from your will means that it’s so important to choose the right person to be your executor in the first place. While things can happen and circumstances can certainly change, choosing an executor for your will is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly and it’s something you should consider very carefully.

Contact Will.Services today to find out more about the costs involved in removing an executor for your own situation.

For more information, see our will-related articles:

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