UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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My brother who is executor on the will. We have not spoke to each other for over 5 years. He is executor on the will as our mother passed away. He wanted to take his name off the will as he does not want to be part of it AT ALL. He is leaving the house to be foreclosure and it could be saved by me if I KNEW what he planned on doing. He was responsible to take care of everything and let me know what is the plan however he foes not want to be part of it. He wanted to sign off his name of the will. What does he need to do?? I really need to save my house by contact with mortgage housing assistance but I can’t since my brother is executor on the will. He want to transfer the house to my name so I can actually save the house.
what is proper process to do this? does he have to write a simple letter stated that he no longer to be executor of the will and to transfer to my name? or what is proper process?
Asked on March 2, 2017 under Estate Planning, New Jersey
M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 6 years ago | Contributor
You can "renounce" step down as executor before formal court appointment without even giving a reason. You can do this by stating, in a signed writing, that you do not want to serve as executor for the estate. Then file it in probate court after the testator's death. but before you're formally appointed by the court (the exact rules for renunciation vary by state). If you're filling a renunciation, notify the estate heirs and beneficiaries before submitting the document in order to give them time to find another executor. However, if you've already been appointed by the probate court and the estate hasn't been settled yet, you must file a petition in court for removal. The court will typically look at your reason for resigning in this case. Acceptable reasons can include ill health (yours or an an immediate family member's) and family emergencies. Also, if you were already appointed executor and are resigning, the court will require you to give a detailed account of all work you performed to date. In most cases, you will not obtain a formal release from the probate court until you provide a detailed accounting of your activities. Finally, you can resign as executor in some states by failing to take any action after the testator dies since such failure to act is viewed by the probate court as a renunciation of your executor duties. For example, if you do not file the Will with the court within state designated timelines, another party with an interest in the estate can file instead (e.g. a famiy member). That having been said, resigning by inaction delays the proceedings and can create confusion and even hardship for the beneficiaries.
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