Passing of Accounts
A person acting as an executor or estate trustee of an estate, an attorney for property, a guardian of property, and a trustee of a trust are all obligated to keep detailed and accurate records of their management of the assets and can be asked or volunteer to present those records, called accounts, to the court for approval in a formal proceeding called an application to pass accounts. The application to pass accounts must be served on all individuals who have an interest in the assets (i.e., the beneficiaries of an estate, the grantor of the power of attorney, the incapable person under guardianship, and the beneficiaries of a trust) and those individuals may file objections to the accounts with the court for a variety of reasons including:
- the accounts are not in compliance with the Rules of Civil Procedure;
- there are disputes about the transactions made;
- the amount of compensation being claimed by the trustee/attorney/guardian was not calculated properly or is disputed by the beneficiaries for other reasons;
- there are disputes about whether all of the property has been accounted for.
Where there are minors who have an interest in the assets, the application to pass accounts must be served on The Children’s Lawyer and where there is an incapable person who has an interest in the assets, the application must be served on The Public Guardian and Trustee. The Office of The Children’s Lawyer and The Office of The Public Guardian and Trustee will closely scrutinize the accounts and often request supporting documentation, receipts and vouchers for the transactions made.
When the court reviews the accounts, it may approve the accounts, grant or adjust the trustee’s/guardian’s/attorney’s compensation, temporarily suspend or terminate the guardianship or power of attorney, or order that money taken by the trustee/guardian/attorney be repaid to the incapable person or estate.