No, you do not. If you do not wish to take on the task of administering the estate, then you may renounce probate.
People renounce probate for various reasons, eg their work or business may be too time consuming or the role may impractical as they may live abroad. Alternatively there may be issues with the estate, such as concerns about whether there is enough money to pay the debts or a risk that the will may become contentious.
How is renunciation done?
A simple form is words, duly signed by you in the presence of an independent witness is all that is required. This is effective immediately, however the renunciation must be filed at the probate registry at the same time and together with the application for the grant.
Who becomes executor in my place?
This depends on the terms of the will. If there are replacement executors specified in the will for circumstances where an executor does not wish to act, then such replacement executor will take your place. Alternatively, there may enough executors without you. If however, there are no more executors named under the will, then the person in line under the intestacy rules to act as an administrator ( ie the person who administers an estate where there is no will) may act to deal with the estate and apply for administration of the estate with will annexed.
If I renounce can I still benefit under the will?
Yes, this does not affect your entitlement to inherit under the will.
Are there any circumstances where I cannot renounce?
Yes! If it can be said that you have “intermeddled” in the estate, then your renunciation will be ineffective. This is where you have performed tasks that indicate that you have accepted the role of executor.