Many consider it an honour to be the estate trustee for a friend or family member - a privilege reserved for a special, trusted person. But being an estate trustee isn't easy. It's a massive time-consuming responsibility that should not be taken on lightly.
Reasons Why Trustees Renounce
If you're an executor named in the will of a deceased but you want to renounce your appointment, you are not required to provide an explanation. That said, common reasons for renouncing appointments include:
Unfamiliarity or disinterest in estate matters
A possible relationship breakdown with the deceased
Apprehension about the tasks demanded of an estate trustee, e.g. consistent and accurate records that will be reviewed by others
Fear about being held liable for any errors in the administration of the estate, particularly if the estate is large and complex
How to Renounce the Appointment
Someone who wants 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. A court may refuse to give this order if the individual has started administering the estate.
If you're an estate trustee and you know from the beginning that you're disinterested in this role, then it's wise to renounce as soon as possible.