Deed of Renunciation - revocable?

Can you reverse a Deed of Renunciation? NCPR 1987 37 (2) seems to indicate that it can only be reversed by Order of a Registrar. However, my client has advised:

“…on the telephone today spoke to an advisor contacted through with respect to the status of the Deed of Renunciation. We were advised that the deed of renunciation has not been lodged on the Probate registry as of today’s date. The advisor stated that this means that should (name of second executor) agree to take up the role of joint Executor of my father’s estate, he will simply need to destroy the ‘Deed of Renunciation’ accordingly.”

If only life were that easy. My thoughts are that the Deed could be reversed if the co-executor accepts it, but if they refuse - which is likely in this case, then the Deed is effective. Any comments would be appreciated.

From Tristram & Cootes Probate Practice:


Renunciation must be made absolutely and without reserve; it takes effect from the day of its date1, but can be withdrawn and is not final until filed2. It is permanent, and can be acted upon and referred to in all succeeding grants3; but there is power to allow a renunciation to be subsequently retracted: see paras 15.62 ff.

1 Munday and Berry v Slaughter (1839) 2 Curt 72.

2 Re Morant’s Goods (1874) LR 3 P & D 151.

3 Harrison v Harrison (1846) 1 Rob Eccl 406, 4 Notes of Cases 434.

Thus, until Probate has been granted, a renunciation can be withdrawn/retracted.

Graeme Lindop
Probate Consultant
Coles Miller Solicitors LLP


Yes, the Non-Contentious Probate Rules cannot be changed by a man in an office making a decision. So NCPR 1987 Rule 37(2) still exists in English law, so a Deed of Renunciation can only (legally) be reversed by a Registrar.

So, as you say, the Deed is effective.

If the advisor is saying “conceal the true facts and your application will almost certainly go through”, I understand why he says it but I wouldn’t do it myself in a month of Sundays.

Thank you Graeme and Julian

On looking into this in a bit more detail, I believe that the renunciation can be retracted provided the deed has not been filed with the court (as per the authorities cited by Graeme), which is usually submitted at the time of making the application for a grant. However, once a grant is issued or rather once the deed is filed, then permission of the registrar is required.