Before an estate can be concluded, an accounting must be prepared reflecting all financial transactions occurring within the estate. The fiduciary (executor or administrator) must account for all assets received, income and interest earned, all bills paid, commissions earned and bequests and gifts paid. Once approved, the accounting absolves the fiduciary from liability.
As the executor or administrator of your loved one’s estate, you have many tasks to perform accurately and thoroughly. The experienced New York accounting attorneys at Cona Elder Law will handle all steps of the accounting process with and for you. For the last two decades, we’ve helped our clients navigate their way through Estate Administration and Probate. We will guide you and your family through the accounting process to its conclusion so the estate can be wrapped up.
An accounting is commonly prepared at the end of the administration of an estate and just before distributions are made to the beneficiaries. Generally, an accounting entails a statement showing:
As the executor or administrator of an estate, your Cona Elder Law attorneys will prepare all necessary accountings — whether informal accountings or judicial accountings for you.
A completely administered estate refers to when all assets have been collected and all debts have been paid. At this point, the fiduciary is ready to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
An informal accounting is an out-of-court process where the fiduciary delivers a written accounting to the beneficiaries and interested parties.
The recipients will review each transaction of the estate. If everything is acceptable, a “Receipt & Release” will be executed by them, which acknowledges the receipt of the proper distribution from the estate and releases the fiduciary from liability.
However, if the accounting isn’t acceptable, the fiduciary will be informed of the inaccuracies — with the intention that they will be corrected. If the fiduciary fails to make the required corrections, litigation may ensue.
Certain estates require a judicial accounting. Judicial accountings require submission of the accounting to the Surrogate’s Court for approval.
Very often, judicial accountings are required when there is disagreement over whether the Executor or Administrator accurately administered the estate. A judicial accounting can be commenced in one of many ways:
In many instances, the court will demand an accounting from the fiduciary. This is often the situation whenever a fiduciary requests to resign or a request is submitted for the fiduciary to be removed.
If the fiduciary fails to provide an accounting to an interested party or to a beneficiary, the party can petition the court to compel the fiduciary to file a judicial accounting. If the fiduciary fails to do so, they can be held in contempt of court and be subject to legal ramifications.
If there is a fiduciary bond, the surety company can request an accounting. In addition, creditors can also request a judicial accounting.
At Cona Elder Law, we’re proud to be ranked as the top Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Estate Administration firm in New York. Our unwavering dedication, commitment to personalized service, and sensitivity allows us to assist you every step of the way through the estate administration and accounting process.
Contact us at 631.619.2533 for estate administration and estate accounting assistance.