Skip to main content

Can an Executor to a Will resign as Executor?

Clinton, IL |

Executor has DUI's, is alcoholic, drug addict, and stolen from heirs. Can the heirs ask them to volunarily remove themselves as Executor? There are 3 Executors currently and the Will reads the other 2 can act if one fails or ceases to act. But can they resign, and what legal document is needed to remove this person from bank accounts so access is not a invitation to steal from the estate? Thank you.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


It can be as simple as a letter stating his resignation. Have it signed and notarized.

It can be as complex as having him removed for cause if he will not resign. You may need to bring an action for a complete and immediate accounting, a surcharge action and an action for removal for cause. For removal for cause, please see my article entitled Pennsylvania Probate: Removal of Personal Representative Under PA Estates and Fiduciary Code at the following link: Even though this relates to PA law most states have similar rules.

You should retain estate counsel to assist you through this process.

Hope this helps.

Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336, his email address is , for more tax, estate and business articles visit his website and blog

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is <> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


While you state that there are three executors to the will, it is more likely that there is one executor and two successor executors. The heirs can ask for the executor for cause and this might go to hearing. In the alternative, the executor can write a formal letter of resignation. The terms of the will should indicate would take over if the original executor is unable or unwilling to act. In the event of removal of of the executor, a court order may be required to change the signatory on bank accounts. If you have any concerns, you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in matters concerning decedent's estates.


An executor can resign at any time, but he or she may still be required to account for actions taken. The resignation would normally be submitted to the court so that the letters of office issued to the executor can be revoked and new letters in the name of a new executor could be issued. You should consult a probate attorney.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer