Do I have to be an executor?

Question: I’ve been asked by a friend if I can be named as an executor in his will. Should I accept? Must I act as executor if appointed without my prior consent? – L.V.


Your friend did the right thing by asking your permission before naming you as executor in the will. Many people are not comfortable in this time-consuming and often delicate role, so it is always best to check first. Whether you accept is your decision. We recommend you discuss the matter in detail with your friend to see how complex the estate is likely to be and whether he intends to appoint a professional co-executor to look after all the detail work. You can then make your decision with full knowledge of what you are obligating yourself to do.

If you are named as an executor without being asked in advance, you have no responsibility to accept the role (you may also decline even if you had previously given permission, perhaps because your health is not good). After having applied to be executor and having been appointed, however, you must obtain the permission of the Courts in order to be relieved of your duties. – G.P.