At the beginning of the Probate process, something called a final accounting feels like a world away. While it is true that probate can be a long process, keeping the final accounting in mind during the entirety of the process can help expedite the final stages. A final accounting can be required to show the Court a detailed account of property, money, and other assets that passed to and from the Estate during Probate.
First, it is important to establish a bank account for the Estate. Make sure you consolidate the decedent’s bank accounts and any physical money they may have left. Funds in the estate account can only be used for certain purposes. If you are uncertain whether using the estate account is appropriate, contact your attorney before making any payments. This is especially important if there will not be enough funds to cover all the bills and claims against the estate.
Avoid comingling estate funds and personal funds, as this may be considered a violation of the Fiduciary’s duty. It also will create a world of confusion when the time comes to complete a final accounting.
Keep copies of all bank statements for the estate account including reliable notes for which items or services you purchase.
Depending on whether there are enough funds in the estate, you’ll want to pay taxes and pay them on time. Contacting the decedent’s accountant is always a helpful way to ensure any tax implications are resolved.
While the prospect of closing your probate case is very exciting, a poorly managed estate account can gravely affect the ability to close your case as quickly as possible. If you are uncertain about any action concerning the estate’s property, it is best to consult your attorney before moving forward.
Keep in mind that the Executor can be held personally liable for errors. You will want to take this job very seriously.
Our office handles many probate cases throughout the state of Vermont (all hearings are now remote). Please contact our office if we can be of assistance.