When dealing with accounts during Lombard estate administration, paperwork naturally becomes something administrators have to also deal with. However, the amount of dedication with both time and resources could be daunting. Instead of administering an estate on your own, try relying on an attorney who could help.
An account is a description of every receipt and every disbursement that an estate experienced. That includes everything that came in and everything that went out. Then this account is prepared. It is put into a neat form and distributed to the beneficiaries and other interested persons.
In the vast majority of circumstances, these accounts are required in the administration of all Lombard estates. Even if an estate is unsupervised, an account still gives all the beneficiaries an accurate representation of all the actions and all the business that was transacted by the representative. In very rare circumstances, maybe there is only a surviving spouse, one beneficiary, or a handful of very close beneficiaries such siblings, an account may not be required. However, this is only on a very limited, case-by-case basis.
The purpose of the account is to advise all the beneficiaries as to the actions of the administrator during the estate administration process. The purpose of the account is also to establish whether or not there is any liability on behalf of the representative. One of the reasons why lawyers recommend that an account is prepared in almost all cases is because if one gives a beneficiary notice of the account, they tell them exactly what happened with respect to an estate, they receive their distribution, and they seem to be happy with that, they could not later come back and say that they now are challenging what the administrator did.
A copy of the account is received by all residual beneficiaries under a will or all heirs in an estate without a will. In the case of a will, specific legatees are not entitled to receive a copy of the accounting. A specific request is a specified amount of money in a will. For example, when a person just says they want their friend to receive $5,000, as long as that person receives $5,000 they have no say in anything else that occurred in an estate.
The part where issues could arise is if a will divides property between all their children. Any action that the estate takes, whether it increases the value of the estate or decreases the value of the estate, is reflected in the amount that they would eventually receive. Usually, a residuary clause would say that whatever is left over after their debts and taxes are paid is distributed to their children equally. Those are residuary beneficiaries, and they would all be entitled to a copy of the account.
The kind of documentation requirements involved in keeping and maintaining an account consists of all financial records related to the financial business of an estate. This means all bank statements and copies of canceled checks. Lawyers generally discourage that representatives use cash to transact business, but in the event they need to use cash, they need to keep a receipt or other voucher proving what they used that cash for. If push comes to shove, they need to be able to tell a judge or a beneficiary what every disbursement was for and where every penny that came into the estate was from. It is very important that all that information is retained by the client and capped to substantiate their account.
People could file objections against an account. Any person who is entitled to file objections could file them with the court. There is a process. Once the final account is distributed to the beneficiaries along with the final reports, those beneficiaries could either sign a receipt saying that they agree to all the disbursements, agree to all the actions of the representative, or have 42 days to file objections to the account. Objections are filed in court, and it is a pleading. Generally, the court would allow the representative to respond, conduct discovery, and if necessary, go to an evidentiary hearing.
Accounts in Lombard estate administration are a critical component to when delegating property in accordance with laws and wills. However, keeping all required documentation for an account is often an organizational nightmare. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by what is required of you, let an attorney help you with your estate administration needs. Speak to an attorney today.