What You Need to Know about Contested Accountings

Financial Record Responsibilities of the Estate Executor or Administrator

A record of all income and assets received, expenses, investment gains and/or losses, and distributions made is usually kept by the estate executor or administrator.  These records should be available to the beneficiaries or distributees. Contested accountings occur when an executor of an estate or trustee of a trust is not forthcoming with information about the estate they represent. If you are a beneficiary or another interested party, you have the right to force the executor/trustee to provide you with an accounting of all the financial details of the estate.  Generally speaking, you can make this request 7 months after the executor is appointed by the Surrogate Court. If the estate executor or administrator does not respond to your request for an accounting, a Petition for a Compulsory Accounting can be filed in court.

An Accounting Ordered by the Court

An accounting, if Ordered by the Court to be provided, must comply with the rules and requirements set forth under New York State Law.  Certain information is required to be presented and it must be in a certain format.  As a beneficiary or other interested party, you then have the right to file objections to anything in the accounting that you may think is not correct.  You also have the right under the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act to examine the executor, in open court, and to conduct other discoveries allowed by the CPLR to gather the information you may be seeking.  Ultimately if the matter is not resolved you may need to have a trial regarding the objections to the Accounting.

Contested Estate Assets and Accountings

Contested estate assets and accountings, can lead to the removal of an estate executor or administrator, especially in cases that include the abuse and mistreatment of assets.  Accounting issues can often be avoided, and when necessary resolved by choosing an experienced attorney to provide the appropriate estate and trust planning for you and your family.

Anyone who suspects that a person or trustee might be abusing their position should contact our trusts and estates department. Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC frequently represents beneficiaries and executors in this legal accounting process.  Gerard Parisi’s experience as both an attorney and as a Certified Public Accountant and Auditor is instrumental in assisting our clients in these types of matters, especially where an executor may be attempting to hide certain financial information from the beneficiaries.

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