If you are going to serve as the executor or personal representative of an estate in Minnesota, one of the things you must familiarize yourself with is the “final accounting.” This is an integral part of the process that must be completed if the estate is going through a formal administration (i.e., there is court involvement). If there is a will in place that has named specific beneficiaries, and the will is not being contested in the courts, there is generally no need for a final accounting. This is known as an informal administration of an estate.
If the estate of your loved one is going through a formal administration for their estate, this is what you need to know about the final accounting.
Note: there are instances where the court can appoint a person to an unsupervised position, which does not require a final accounting. However, the courts can require that an accounting be presented at any time. It’s always important to stay organized and be prepared at all times.
What is a Final Accounting?
A final accounting is a detailed record of the assets and expenditures of a trust or a conservatorship. It is prepared after the trustor of the estate has passed and must be distributed to the heirs/beneficiaries of the trust. In some states, this process can be waived by the beneficiaries through written documentation. The purpose of the document is to outline the current accounting of the estate and ensure the beneficiaries are getting what is intended to be left to them. It also ensures that the fiduciary of the estate has correctly fulfilled their duties.
The detailed records can include, but are not limited to:
- The expenditures and expenses paid by the trust (including payments to advisors who have helped manage the trust)
- The taxes paid and owed
- Disbursements made
- Gains and losses from investments
Detailed and accurate records are essential, which is why it’s important for an executor or personal representative to work with an accountant and/or attorney who is well-versed in trust accounting. Failure to keep accurate records can cause issues with the trust after the trustor has passed away. There also can be special assets, situations, interim distributions, and many other scenarios that may require special attention during the accounting process.
What to Do Before Becoming an Executor or Personal Representative
It’s important to understand things like the final accounting before assuming your management of an estate. If you are soon to become an executor or personal representative for an estate, also remember that obtaining a surety bond will likely be a part of the process. For help with all your Minnesota surety bond needs, get in touch with The Patrick J. Thomas Agency today.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.