How to remove an executor

If you want an executor to be removed or replaced, the first step is to ask them to step down voluntarily. When doing so, you should set out the reasons for why you believe that this is appropriate or necessary. An executor is not obliged to step down upon request, but they should consider the request (and what is in the best interests of the estate) carefully before responding.

It is important to note that an executor can renounce before they have accepted the role, but once they have commenced the estate administration a court order will usually be required for their removal as they will have “intermeddled”.

If the executor chooses to decline the request and continues to act, it is good practice for them to provide reasons for doing so. It is not sufficient simply to rely on the fact that it was the deceased’s wish that they administer the estate; their decision should be based on the current best interests of the estate. 

If the executor has refused to step down but you still believe that it would be in the best interests of the estate for them to be removed, you can make an application to the court. However, as a contested action involves substantial costs, it should be approached with caution and as a last resort.

The primary consideration of the court is whether removing or replacing the executor would be in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries. In order to avoid being removed from their position, an executor must therefore be acting in the estate’s (and the beneficiaries’) best interests at all times.

Get in touch

Whether you need to dispute a will or defend your inheritance, our expert team will work with you to achieve the best result. Contact us on freephone 0800 0931336, by email at or via the contact button below for a no obligation chat and to see how we can help.

Alt Contact Image