A New York Proceeding to Compel a Fiduciary to Provide An Accounting is an Important Method to Settle An Estate

A very common complaint that New York Estate Lawyers hear is that an estate beneficiary has not received his share of a decedent’s estate. Typically, the beneficiary, who may be a legatee under a Last Will or a distributee in an intestate administration, has been waiting for years to receive a payment. Sometimes all efforts to contact or receive a response from the Executor or Administrator have failed.

In earlier posts, it has been discussed that a fiduciary must account for his actions. The accounting that is provided to estate or trust beneficiaries includes a list of all assets and income received, all expenditures that have been paid and all expenses or claims that are still outstanding.In many estates, the fiduciary will prepare and provide to the interested parties a copy of an account. Very often the parties, after receiving the information, consent that the fiduciary has fully and accurately reported all transactions and gives the fiduciary a Release. However, when the executor, administrator or trustee refuses to provide or file an account, the aggrieved party can utilized the provisions of Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Sections 2205 and 2206. These statutes provide that the Court can issue an Order requiring the fiduciary to file an accounting. The statutory provisions in SCPA 2205 also allow the Court to suspend a fiduciary who fails to appear in Court or who does not file an account as directed.

Estate litigation lawyers are familiar with these areas of estate law because they serve a very important purpose in protecting the rights of beneficiaries and allowing the Surrogate’s Court to maintain oversight with regard to the actions of its appointees. In a recent case entitled Will of Boscowitz decided by Manhattan Surrogate Nora Anderson on February 27, 2015, a proceeding was commenced to compel a trustee to file his account. When the trustee failed to appear in Court, he was found to be in contempt and the Surrogate had him arrested.

I have represented many parties where a petition to file a compulsory accounting was prepared to protect their estate interests. Such proceedings have been initiated by me for clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Suffolk County and other Surrogate’s Court venues. The compulsory accounting process is essential to estate settlement.

New York Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to Probate, Administration and estate settlement throughout New York City including Brooklyn and Queens. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

Jules Martin Haas provides his clients and members of the community with a free monthly e-newsletter which contains articles covering a variety of legal topics including estate planning, financial matters and real estate. If you wish to be placed on the e-newslist, simply e-mail me at jules.haas@verizon.net. You can cancel receiving the newsletter at anytime.

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