Do all beneficiaries need to receive a statement of account?
I am the executor of my mother's will. I am the only residual beneficiary. All of the other beneficiaries have specific amounts gifted to them, including my sister and brother. Do I have to get everyone to approve the accounts?
Whether you’re an executor or administrator, under the law you’re called the personal representative. Every personal representative has a duty to account. This involves accounting to beneficiaries regularly. It also requires responding to reasonable requests for information. The duty continues as you go about dealing with the estate.
There’s no set way that you must present your informal accounts. But they should give a clear and full picture of the financial position and progress of the estate. The amount and type of information you’d need to give to a beneficiary varies. It will depend on the type of interest they have in the estate.
A residual beneficiary is entitled to full information about estate property. You should give them a full picture about the amount and state of the property. As well, let them in on amounts you expect to come in and go out of the estate.
On the other hand, there are often people who are gifted specific amounts. You’d only need to show these beneficiaries that their gift will be paid (or why it cannot be paid).
As you finalize the estate, you’ll also have to turn your mind to passing your accounts. This is a formal process where a personal representative asks the court to approve their accounts. Under the law, you must do this unless all of the beneficiaries approve and consent to your final accounts. This must be done in writing.
You can avoid going to court if all of the beneficiaries approve your accounts. This includes residual beneficiaries and those who have been gifted a specific amount. If everything’s in order, this is usually the best option for everybody. Going to court drains estate funds and delays the distribution of the estate.