What If I Don't Want to be an Estate Trustee?

While many may consider being an estate trustee for a friend or family member, a privilege, it is a huge time consuming responsibility that should not be undertaken lightly.

An executor who is named in the will of a deceased but wants to renounce their appointment is not required to provide an explanation. However, common reasons for renouncing appointments include:

  • Unfamiliarity and disinterest in estate matters;

  • A possible relationship breakdown with the deceased;

  • Keeping consistent and accurate records may be too much of a commitment for you; and

  • Fear of being held liable for any errors in the administration of the estate.

The individual who wishes to renounce the appointment must do so before probate has been granted for the estate. They must complete Form 74.11 under the Rules of Civil Procedure, this form is called a “Renunciation of Right to a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (or Succeeding Estate Trustee) With a Will”).

In the event that a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee has been granted and the estate trustee in question wishes to step down, a court application must be commenced under s. 37(1) of the Trustees Act and the court must order the removal. It is possible that a court may refuse to give this order if the individual has started administering the estate. If you are disinterested in acting from the start, it is wise to renounce as soon as possible.