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Can An Estate Executor Resign In California?


An estate executor is an individual named in a Will to administer a decedent’s estate as directed by the Will. An executor can also be an entity. The job of an estate executor is not an easy one. Being nominated as the executor of a decedent’s estate imposes upon the person or entity a fiduciary duty to adhere to the terms of the Will in accordance with the law. If an estate executor fails to do their job as required, they may face personal liability. Because of this, it is crucial that if you have been nominated as an executor in a loved one’s Will, you avoid accepting the nomination if you know you won’t be able to do the job well. Being nominated as the executor in a loved one’s Will doesn’t mean you have to accept the nomination.

But what if you already accepted to be the executor of your loved one’s Will? In such a case, can you resign? Yes, you can. In California, estate executors are allowed to resign at any time and for any reason as long as the resignation is in the estate’s best interest. Read on to learn more.

Resigning as the Executor of a California Estate                                                  

If you have already been appointed by the court as the executor of a loved one’s Will and you wish to resign, you need to file a petition with the court. In your petition, you need to explain why you want to resign. In California, an estate executor can resign for any reason as long as they are doing what is best for the estate. For example, you are allowed to resign if the job of an executor is too hard for you. Also, you are allowed to resign if you suddenly realize you lack the skills necessary to serve effectively.

After filing your written notice, you may be required to serve all beneficiaries with written notice of your resignation. Additionally, after filling your written notice, the court might require you to provide a report of everything you did while you were the executor of your loved one’s Will. In fact, you might be required to meet before the court accepts your petition.

What About the Successor/Alternate Executor?

Often, the alternate/successor executor will be named in a Will. If your loved one’s Will names an alternate/successor executor, that person will have the right to probate your loved one’s Will after your resignation. That person may be appointed to replace you.

Suppose the successor executor refuses to accept the nomination, is unavailable, or there is no successor executor named in your loved one’s Will? In such a case, the probate court will appoint an estate administrator.

If you realize, for whatever reason, you do not want to serve as the executor of a decedent’s Will, reach out to an attorney for help. An experienced probate attorney can help you file a petition with the court.

Contact The Probate Guy for Legal Help

If you are considering resigning from your position as the executor of your loved one’s Will, contact the skilled and dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a free telephonic consultation.


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