Yes, a nominated Executor may refuse the appointment of Executor for a deceased’s Estate. Such a refusal is called ‘renouncing’. In order for an individual to renounce their appointment as an Executor the solicitor acting for the Estate will be required to file a Renunciation of Probate signed by the individual in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Even individuals who initially accept their role as Executor (including by undertaking an action consistent with being an Executor) may be able to apply to have their executorship revoked. This is generally a more onerous procedure.
It is important for individuals who do not wish to be an Executor to refrain from undertaking any duties that would ordinarily be consistent with such a role. Further, it is recommended that the nominated Executor renounce their appointment as soon as possible.
Interfering with the administration of an Estate without the requisite authority is referred to as intermeddling, and should be avoided as it may be perceived as an individual accepting the role of Executor. Such actions may personally expose the individual to risk. Tasks that will generally not be considered intermeddling include such things as organising the funeral and safeguarding assets. However, tasks such as selling assets and paying creditors should be avoided.
If you require any further information or assistance in regards to the above, contact the Team of Lawyers at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.