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Estate Accounting

Estate Accounting in Indiana

An executor appointed to manage the administration of someone's assets through probate or the handling of other estate planning tools has important responsibilities. One common question that emerges on behalf of beneficiaries is whether or not executors have to give an accounting to beneficiaries.

A personal representative, also known as an executor in the state of Indiana is someone who has been appointed by the probate court to administer an estate for a person who has passed away. The executor has numerous different roles to carry out in this process including taking control of the assets in the estate and distributing them to the beneficiaries associated with the decedent. The executor must also be prepared to submit an estate accounting for all distributions and assets associated with the estate.

This accounting must be provided to beneficiaries and the court. Probate executors must use estate accounts to ensure the competent and fair handling of inheritances destined for beneficiaries. Preparation formalities and accounting forms can be complicated and can vary from one state to another, which is why many people in Indiana choose to name an executor who lives within the state of Indiana. An executor is responsible for disclosing to the beneficiaries any actions he or she has taken for the estate. This includes the sale of any real estate or other property and receipts for bill payment.

An executor should be organized from the outset of taking over the management of the estate. Distributions of any property or money made to beneficiaries must clarify the beneficiaries involved, the specific nature of the property and exact dollar amounts. What this basically boils down to in Indiana estate accounting is that beneficiaries are entitled to receive accurate and detailed information from an estate account. Estates are typically administered through informal or independent probate proceedings provided they do not have great levels of complexity.

Independent probate cases however, might still require an executor to provide an accounting to courts and beneficiaries but might not necessarily require a judge to sign off on it. A formal accounting for an Indiana estate, however, is different.

Courts can subject any of the accounting done by the executor to judicial approval and scrutiny. Beneficiaries can also request to attend hearings for approval but it is ultimately up to the discretion of the judge to approve accountings in such cases. Any supervised estates require these kinds of judicial accounting approvals.

A formal and supervised probate estate has more significant judicial oversight and a final accounting must also be submitted by an Indiana executor before an estate can officially close. This gives the beneficiaries one last chance to review any of the activities taken on by the executor before the file is permanently closed.

An executor will also need to file an accounting at the end of the first year in the event that the estate is complex and requires more than one year to administer. An executor has important responsibilities to uphold in this role and therefore, should consult with an Indiana probate lawyer.       

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