Probate Accounting and related Probate (Estate) and Trust Litigation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and surrounding West Florida areas.
When a personal representative is appointed to administer a probate estate, one of his or her primary duties is to keep the estate beneficiaries reasonably informed about the financial dealings of the estate. This is accomplished at several levels.
Within 60 days of the issuance of the personal representative’s letters of administration, the personal representative is required to file an estate inventory. The inventory contains a listing of initial estate assets with approximate values of said assets. The inventory also contains certain notices to the beneficiaries as to their rights for additional information regarding how the inventory, and values, were comprised. It is not uncommon for the inventory to be amended once additional information is obtained.
In addition to the inventory, personal representatives are required to prepare and issue fiduciary accountings to the beneficiaries prior to their discharge and the closure of the estate. Upon request, the court can also order interim accountings, which are most commonly granted for estates that are administered for extended periods of time. These accountings provide opportunities for the beneficiaries to review the financial dealings of the estate, and file objections to the accounting, if necessary.
It is also important to note that many personal representatives (also known as "executors" in other states) will request that beneficiaries sign waivers to these type of accountings. These waivers are often provided to beneficiaries early in the probate process at a time when the parties are still grieving and less concerned with the legal documents being placed in front of them. It is critical for clients to know the importance and effect of these waivers, as a beneficiary may be waiving the right to challenge certain actions taken by the personal representative without all the necessary facts to make an informed decision.
If you have questions or concerns regarding any probate estates, inventories or accountings, please contact our office, as our attorneys routinely deal with litigated probate estates within the courts of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and the surrounding West Florida areas.