The fact that you are named in the will as an executor does not impose any obligation on you to act in this capacity. For various reasons, it may be inconvenient or even impossible for you to perform this function properly, or you may just not wish to take up this responsibility upon yourself. It is rather unusual, but it may even happen that you did not know about being appointed as an executor!
So what shall you do if you find yourself in this situation? This will depend on whether you are the only executor or there is also a co-executor named.
In case of 2 or more executors, it would be enough to sign a form of renunciation. It must be signed in the presence of a witness who must not have any interest in the estate. Then, the remaining executors may obtain the grant of probate without you. Bear in mind that this is only possible if you have not yet done anything in relation to the estate.
If your decision is not final and you need some time to decide whether or not you want to take part in the process, you may reserve your appointment by asking the probate register to allow the other executors to start without you. In this case, you will be able to join them at a later stage.
If you are the sole executor and you wish to renounce this right, you may submit your renunciation form to the probate registry together with the will and any codicil attached.
In most cases, the appointed executor will be a relative or a friend of the family who will be consulted first before their appointment. If this is the case with you and you have doubts as to your suitability, it is obviously better to discuss it with the testator before any will is made, so there is no need to renounce later. If your situation has changed and you do need to renounce, it would be expected that you let the family of the deceased know as soon as possible – there is a lot to do and certain matters are urgent.