How do I prepare for an Accounting?
If you are an Executor or an Administrator in the state of New Hampshire, you will most likely be required to produce an Accounting after the first year of an estate administration. An Accounting allows the Court to see all of the key financial facts regarding an estate. The Court requires you to provide the Accounting using a standardized form which can be found on the Court’s website in the Probate forms. Click here to view the form. In order to prepare for an Accounting you can review the Court’s rule regarding Accounting Standards [Click here to review the Rule]; gather all documentation regarding assets and debts of the estate; and consult with an attorney.
The Accounting Standard
As noted above, the Court has a rule to outline the standards for filling out the Accounting form. The rule specifically indicates that an Account should be understandable to persons who are unfamiliar with the administration of estates; however to an everyday fiduciary, this may not be true. One of the more helpful documents found on the Court’s website is the instructions found with the form which describe what each field of the form should include. The instructions can be found here.
The Accounting itself is a four (4) page document. The first page requires a brief demographic overview of the individuals involved in the administration as well as the totals for the receipts and disbursements of the estate. The second page is a breakdown of different types of receipts, generally for all assets of the estate. The third page is a breakdown of all the disbursements of the estate, generally all of the expenses/bills of the estate. The last page is a summation of the balance held by the estate after disbursements are subtracted from the receipts, as well as a number of questions regarding the status of the taxes of the estate and beneficiaries. There is a fifth page that is included at the end of the Accounting; however the Court does not want this page to be submitted with the Accounting. This page is an Accounting Worksheet used to determine the total value of the estate as well as any Court Fees. There is also a description of Rule 108(E) regarding transactions that the Executor or Administrator is not held accountable for.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for drafting your Accounting is gathering all receipts and bills involved in the estate you are administering. Although these documents will not be needed by the Court, they are essential to determining each number that will be input into your Accounting form. These documents will also be essential should there be any litigation over how the estate was administered.
Stay Organized and Consult with an Attorney
When administering any estate the most helpful thing you can do is to stay organized, track all debts and assets meticulously and most importantly, if you have questions, seek out the assistance of an Attorney. If you are feeling overwhelmed, sometimes a simple sit down with an Attorney may help you by answering any outstanding questions. If the process of administering the estate feels difficult from the get go, you may want to have an attorney guide you from the start.
Let us Help
Estate Administration can be immensely confusing and at times, despite the fact that the Courts try to make it easier for the everyday fiduciary to navigate. We always recommend that you hire an Attorney to walk you through this process or at the very least guide you through the basics. Please feel free to give us a call at 943-5647 to contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate administration Attorneys who can discuss your options.