The administration of a New York estate typically has three phases. At the outset, a fiduciary needs to be appointed such as an Executor or an Administrator. Once there is someone in an official capacity to handle the decedent’s affairs, the process of locating and collecting assets can begin. Also, estate debts and obligations must be determined and resolved. Both of the above phases can cause delays in finalizing the estate due to such problems as Will Contests or disputes regarding the ownership of assets.
The final part of the process in handling a decedent’s affairs is the accounting phase. All fiduciaries, whether an Administrator or Executor or Trustee, must provide an accounting to the estate beneficiaries. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog contains many articles discussing the various issues involved with administering an estate.
An estate accounting contains many schedules which provide detailed information regarding the amounts received and expended by the fiduciary. The beneficiaries have an opportunity to review the accounting and file Objections if they feel there has been a breach of fiduciary duty. The Surrogate’s Court will scrutinize the accounting for accuracy and proper reporting. Recently in a Bronx estate, the Court found that the Administrator did not include the value of the decedent’s cooperative apartment. The cased was entitled Estate of Scott and was decided by Bronx Surrogate Neilda Malave-Gonzalez, on August 2, 2019. In Scott, the Court determined that there was insufficient proof that the decedent’s son was entitled to succeed to the ownership of the apartment and exclude its value from the accounting.