Being an executor is a responsibility that not everyone can take on. If the executor nominated by the will wish to refuse to act, they can do so. If they do nothing, they will not be appointed by the court. Being nominated by the will is not enough to act as the executor, to have that power one has to be appointed by the court.
If there is a successor executor nominated by the will, that successor executor can step in and petition the court to be nominated to act as the executor and perform the duties. It is sufficient for the original executor to not do anything and just say “I refuse.” But it would be faster and easier for the beneficiaries and the successor executor if the original executor signs a disclaimer refusing his right to act as the executor.
If there is no successor executor or the successor executor is not available, then the estate can be administered by one of the beneficiaries, who can apply to be estate Administrator C.T.A. This means administrator “with the will attached” (Cum Testamento Annexo in Latin). Administrator C.T.A. steps in when there is no successor executor or they are also refusing or passed away or not fit mentally. If no beneficiary steps in the administer the estate, then the Public Administrator of the county where the estate is taking place can step in and become the administrator of the estate. This may be an extra expense to the estate.
An executor nominated by the will can refuse to act, but they should think twice before they do so, due to the fact that the alternative could be an administrator who is not as competent or the public administrator, which is an added expense to the estate.
We would like to think that the person who died nominated that particular executor for a reason, but we understand that things come up in life where a nominated executor wants to refuse to act.
If you are the executor who would like to refuse to act or you are the successor executor or a beneficiary who would like to become the Administrator C.T.A., call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774.