Estate Accounts

...what are they and who sees them?

An Executor or Administrator has a statutory duty to produce a final Estate Account which can be enforced by the Court. This account will illustrate what money has come in and out of the Estate, listing all assets, liabilities (debts), administration expenses and the final amount to be distributed to the Beneficiaries.

These accounts should correspond exactly with monies received or paid out by the Executor or Administrator and it is recommended that monies belonging to the Estate are always held in a separate Executorship Bank Account set up specifically and not their own personal accounts which can lead to confusion or suspicion.

Who can see the estate accounts?

A court can order that an account is submitted to the court itself and certain beneficiaries can make a court application for an Executor or Administrator to provide an Estate Account if they have concerns about the way in which the Estate was administered. To avoid the cost of court applications it is wise to know who has a right to see the account and to provide them with a copy when distributing an estate.

Not everyone is entitled to see the Estate accounts. Only Residuary Beneficiaries are entitled to see the Estate accounts.

A Residuary Beneficiary is someone who is entitled to all or some of the remaining Estate (so what is left) after the expenses, debts, taxes and other gifts have been paid out.

There is no prescribed format as to how the Estate Account should look but it should list all assets, liabilities and administrative expenses, specific gifts and explain the distribution of residue to beneficiaries.

Expert assistance from the outset can avoid concerns from the beneficiaries or the development of disputes.

RMNJ are always glad to discuss any questions you have without obligation and at first instance entirely free of charge.

Back to RMNJ's Guide to Probate