How To Remove A Solicitor Or Bank Acting As Executor In A Will

Phone call to remove a Solicitor as executor

It is common for a professional, often a bank or a solicitor, to be named as an executor in the Will of the deceased. This is usually the firm that wrote the Will. 

It is possible to remove a solicitor or bank if them acting as the executor may not be in the estate’s best interest.  For example:

  • The estate is small or non-complex, which doesn’t justify the cost of a professional.
  • If the firm’s fees are excessive and the beneficiaries want to appoint another firm.
  • The firm isn’t a probate professional (or they aren’t a regulated legal practitioner) and merely pass the work on to another firm, this can create unnecessary costs for the estate.
  • Another executor or beneficiary has the skills to undertake the work without incurring professional costs.

It is possible to remove a professional executor prior to them starting to work on the estate.  Here is what you can do.

Step 1: Find the Will

If you haven’t already, find the Will or obtain a copy for your records. This document will confirm who the executor is and detail the deceased’s wishes. Check with the bank, solicitor, or family members for the original.

If you can’t find the Will, buy a Will search from the National Will Register.  They will search over 10 million Will records for you for a low fee, starting from £58.80, including VAT.  You can find out more on our Certainty Will Search page.

Step 2: Talk to the Professional.

First, have a friendly conversation. Explain why you’d prefer a different executor.

In many cases, banks and solicitors will act per the family’s wishes.

Perhaps a family member wants to take on the role, or you have concerns about the bank or solicitor’s fees.

They may be willing to step down or reach an agreement allowing them to remain the professional executor.

Step 3:  Remove a Solicitor or other professional

If they agree to step down, you can remove a solicitor or other professional if they agree to sign a deed of renunciation.

This is a formal document that officially removes them as executors. There might be a small fee for this. They might also need to sign a similar document for any trusts in the will.

Important Note: They can only step down if they haven’t started handling the estate (like paying bills).  This is known as intermeddling.

Step 4: If They Refuse to Renounce their Position

If they refuse to renounce their position, you have a couple of options:

Apply for a Caveat with the Court: Stop the probate application by applying for a caveat with the Court. Think of this like a pause button on the estate. This process temporarily holds off on issuing the “Grant of Probate,” which is the official go-ahead to distribute the estate. This allows everyone involved to catch their breath and consider their next steps.

Apply for a Standing Search: Alternatively, a ‘Standing Search (PA1S form)’ may be submitted to the Court. This option keeps you in the loop. While it doesn’t stop the Grant of Probate from being issued, it lets you know when or if it has been issued.

Take it to the Court: If talking it out doesn’t work and the bank or solicitor won’t step down, you can file a formal application with the High Court to remove them as executor. This is a more serious step, so be prepared to explain why they should be replaced. You’ll need details about the estate’s value, the beneficiaries, and who you’d like to take over as executor. The Court will weigh the arguments from both sides, so having a lawyer on your team is smart. Remember, Court cases can be costly, so this is a decision to make with careful consideration. Check out our post ‘Can an Executor be Removed from a Will and How to Do It’ for more information.

If you have more questions about the role of an executor, check out our Executor Guide.

If you are worried about your risks and liabilities as an executor, check out our Executor Insurance Guide and Probate House Insurance Page, which will explain the insurance policies available to you.


It can be a complex process if you need to remove a solicitor or other professional acting as an executor.  Hopefully, this guide equips you with the knowledge to navigate the initial steps.

Remember, communication is key. Try to resolve things amicably whenever possible. If legal issues arise, it is always recommended that you consult a solicitor specialising in probate law.

Disclaimer: This information is for general understanding only and shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Every situation is unique, so it is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer familiar with probate law in your area.

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Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

You can find out more about me on my author page.

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