executor has a very important job to do. They have to gather in the assets
administer the estate and distribute it to all the beneficiaries. It’s
basically a thankless job and often unpaid. The pay, if there is any, is
generally whatever legacy the executor has been left and if they’ve been left
nothing they have to apply for commission, which the residual beneficiaries
either have to consent to, and if they don’t, have to apply to the court. Very
If it’s unpaid and
it’s thankless, then why would anyone do it? The deceased has entrusted the
executor to do this job. They thought this is the person I want to carry out my
wishes, but they don’t have to do it. If an executor is appointed, they do not
have to take on the role. They can renounce, and what is that process? Not very
hard. They just file a form in the Supreme Court saying,” I renounce my
position as executor. I have not intermeddled in the estate,” and they
lose all power.
It cannot be
revoked once it’s done, you cannot get that power back. If they revoke, then
the executor power goes to, if there is a co-executor they get the position. If
there is no one else it goes down to the alternative executor and if there’s no
alternative executor they can apply for the trustee & guardian to be the
administrator of the estate.
However, it can’t
be done if someone has intermeddled. Intermeddling is when someone just has a
little bit of a go at playing executor. Doesn’t like it for whatever reason
finds it too stressful and starts dabbling in bank accounts and transactions,
that’s intermeddling. Once you do that, you’ve got the mark of executor, you
cannot then try and renounce.
In summary, if
someone doesn’t want to be an executor, they don’t have to. They can renounce,
unless they’ve had a go at it, they’ve intermeddled, then they can’t renounce.
What can you do as
a Will-maker to stop any of this happening? Have a chat with the person you
want to be your executor and explain to them the importance of the role and
what it means to you. If you just pick someone out of random or just nominate a
sibling, child that you haven’t talked to about, they might pull the plug.
Hope that’s been of some interest today. Talk again next time.
Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2023 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019 guides.