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Can an estate’s executor step down during probate?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Probate |

Probate courts do not require individuals named executors under someone’s will to take on the responsibility despite what is written on the document. They can refuse the role before the probate process begins.

However, let us say an executor initially accepts the responsibility but can no longer fulfill their duty later. Can they step down from their role in the middle of probate?

Yes, for valid reasons

The law does not prevent executors from resigning from their posts during probate. However, courts usually hold a hearing to determine whether the resignation is valid. While there is no set list of reasons the courts deem reasonable for resignation, common ones include sudden illness, disability or simply lack of time due to other commitments.

How it works

In Ohio, probate courts allow executors to resign from their role at any time by formally filing a written statement of their intention. Before they do so, they have to properly account for the current probate process and notify all interested persons of their renouncement. The resignation will only be final upon the court’s order.

What happens then?

The court will typically appoint another person qualified for the role if the executor managing the estate’s administration resigns before the completion of the probate process. If initially, there were multiple executors, the court can appoint the remaining coexecutor. If the decedent’s will names a successor in case such a situation happens, then they shall be the new executor. Otherwise, the court will appoint someone it deems fit to continue the probate process.

It is understandable to worry about the progress of your loved one’s estate administration if sudden situations arise, such as the executor stepping down from their role. Nonetheless, the court should appoint a new executor, and the process will run smoothly again.

Having a compassionate legal guidance can help you navigate the process, no matter what challenges you face.

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