Accounting Proceedings Regarding Estates

accounting-proceedingsIn the State of New York the executor named in the will or the administrator of an intestate estate (someone who died without a will) has an obligation to organize and collect all of the estate’s assets. Thereafter the executor or administrator acting as fiduciary pays the bills and expenses of the estate and distributes the net estate to the beneficiaries of the estate. The administrator or executor of the estate usually prepares an accounting of the actions he or she took with regard to the estate. The accounting reports all of the assets and income collected on the estate. It then shows all of the expenses and claims by creditors that were paid. In addition, it shows the amount of funds which remain after all the estate expenses are paid and these funds remain in the estate which are to be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate. In the event it is an administration proceeding the balance of the funds are paid to the beneficiaries under the laws of intestacy in the State of New York.

Objections to Accounting

Sometimes beneficiaries and/or creditors have objections to the accounting. Accounting proceedings can be brought in the Surrogate’s Court. Under these proceedings the administrator or executor may have to testify under oath as to the actions he or she took with regard to the estate’s assets.

Maintaining the Appropriate Records

Estate administrators and executors have to maintain accurate detailed records of all the transactions involving the estate. The failure to maintain accurate records can prevent the executor or administrator from establishing all the things he or she has done during the course of the accounting proceeding.


Unless the executor or the administrator of an estate is very organized, precise and detailed, it is usually in their best interest to have all issues concerning the payment of bills and distributions of the assets of the estate handled by an estate’s lawyer on their behalf.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. The law firm represents clients in estate proceedings throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at