November 20, 2019

Forcing an Executor to Account

FORCING ACCOUNTS

Executors of an estate are required to disclose the value of an estate and to document as well as explain the accounting of the estate to all beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries of an estate often complain that they are not provided with information concerning the value of an estate or the accounting. In some cases they are asked to “sign off” on the estate without knowing in advance what their share of the estate is and how it was determined.

Beneficiaries may force the disclosure of the accounting as well as information related to the value of the estate from the date of death to the date of distribution.

Typically estates are wrapped up within a year from the date of death. This year is referred to as an “Executor’s Year” which essentially means that an executor has a year to settle all matters related to an estate – determine the value of the estate, manage, transfer and / or liquidate assets as directed by the deceased in their Will, distribute specific bequests, file tax returns etc. The executor must maintain clear records of all transactions (accounting).

If an estate is very straightforward or if the executor is past the Executor’s Year, a beneficiary of the estate can compel the executor to provide their accounts by bringing a Court Application for an Order requiring that the executor conduct a “Passing of Accounts”.

A beneficiary is entitled to this Order and the executor does not even have to be served with the Court Application requesting the Order. As with most court applications, the process is complicated enough that most beneficiaries will decide to use a lawyer to compel the Passing of Accounts.

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Feel free to contact us at any point for assistance or advice with respect to Estate Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration or Estate Litigation. We may be reached at 705-435-4339 / 1-877-85LEGAL (1-877-855-3425) or contact us via email.