I qualified as an administrator of my aunt’s estate. I don’t want to be an administrator any more. What can I do?


An administrator (or executor) can resign; however, resigning isn’t as easy as qualifying.

To resign, a personal representative needs the permission of the court. Section 64.2-1424 of the Virginia Code says “The circuit court in which or before the clerk of which a fiduciary qualified may allow any personal representative, guardian, conservator, or committee to resign his trust conditioned upon his accounts as the fiduciary being stated and settled in the mode prescribed by law. Such resignation shall not invalidate any act done or affect any liability incurred by him while holding such trust.”

Obtaining the court’s permission requires the filing of a petition. A hearing may also be necessary. Even after you do all that, the court doesn’t have to let you resign–the court has the discretion to allow you to resign or not. It’s probably a good idea to get the help of a Virginia lawyer who regularly handles probate matters if you need to resign as personal representative.

Even after you’ve resigned, you’re still responsible (i.e., liable) for everything you did while you were serving as personal representative. Generally, you’ll also still need to file your accountings for the time you were serving.

Note that this process only applies to personal representatives who have qualified before the clerk or court. Generally, a person named as a personal representative in a will who does not wish to serve can decline to serve without a petition and/or hearing. In that circumstance, properly completing a Waiver of Qualification form will often suffice.