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Lawyers: Refusing the Role of Executor of a Will

For this month’s article, we are going to look at instances where a person has been given a special responsibility regarding someone else’s will that they do not want. This will require us to go over a bit of background about the role of executor of will before discussing when it is acceptable to refuse the aforesaid legal responsibility and how one goes about doing so in the state of Queensland.

Lawyers Making/Updating Your Will

Those looking to make or update a legally sound will seek out lawyers who are specialists in this area, such as Dr Craig Jensen Lawyers. If you’ve never had anything to do with wills before, this previous blog entry will provide you with an introduction to the topic. Basically, though, a will sets out what you wish to happen to your property and other assets when you die, as well as instructions for the care of your dependents. It also names an executor…

Appointing the Executor

An executor should be one or more persons whom you fully trust to administer your estate when you are gone. Things to consider here are their capability when it comes to legal and/or financial matters, their availability, how your death may affect them (e.g. Will they be in mourning?), and whether they’ll be seen as a controversial appointment by the various stakeholders in the will. Also, most relevant to this discussion, you must take into account their potential willingness to assume the posiiton!

The Executor’s Duties

Lawyers like Dr Craig Jensen will be able to explain in as much detail as you want the various duties of an executor. This Queensland government site gives a good summary, which includes notifying beneficiaries, determining debts and handling the sale of assets where required.

Reasons You Might Refuse the Position

First and foremost, allow us to point out that just because you are named as an executor DOES NOT mean you are obliged to accept this position. Refusing the position of executor– which is termed renouncing executorship (and means you are renouncing probate) – is an option.

You might choose to refuse simply because you lack confidence in fulfilling the associated responsibilities, an overwhelming schedule that makes it impractical to take on additional duties, mental incapacity arising from grief, concerns about potential legal disputes from beneficiaries, or the practicality of residing far away from the deceased’s location and the preference for another person to act as a representative. If you find yourself in the last scenario, it is advisable to consult with your lawyer to discuss the situation further.

How to Go About Doing So (First Steps)

Those renouncing executorship (renouncing probate) in Queensland should fill out the appropriate renunciation form, which is then directed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Form 114 is for when a will exists, while Form 115 is for when there is no will (“intestacy”) but you still want to renounce any rights of administration. In these cases, an estate can instead be administered by the Public Trustee, for which a fee will be charged.

For Any Kind of Assistance Regarding Wills…

Please contact Dr Craig Jensen Lawyers. Brisbane lawyers based in the suburb of Parkinson, we are experts in this area of the law, with decades of experience and countless satisfied clients. To chat about your particular situation and how we can help, you can email us at, phone (07) 3711 6722 or fax (07) 3711 6733. Alternatively, submit an online or visit our convenient location at 485 Algester Road, Parkinson.

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