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By: Scott Grossman on November 4th, 2018

Deciding between a Report on a Waiver of Account or a First and Final Account

Hi, congratulations you are getting to the end of probate, you’re almost there. There’s one last thing we need to file before we get an order from the court that says, everything you’ve done is fine and it’s time to distribute the estate. That’s either going to be a report on a waiver of account or a first and final account.

Heres what the difference is between these two; you’ve now done everything you’re supposed to for this estate, you’ve gathered the assets, you’ve paid the lawful debts, you’ve taken care of everything that needed to be done including taxes and now you wanna distribute the estate.  You probably want to get paid for your services as the executor administrator, I would like to be paid for representing you in this process, and of course, all the beneficiaries want to get what they’re supposed to from the estate. So there are two potential ways to get there. The first of them is a waiver of account and that is really just what it sounds like, without a waiver you as the executor administrator have to account.

This means you are going to have to put together a document which, of course, we are going to do for you but you’re going to need to supply us with the information that shows everything that was owned by the dependent on their date of death and that’s going to be on the inventory and appraisal that was done and submitted to the court months ago. Anything that’s come in since that time, all the money that’s gone out since that time, and whatever assets are left for distribution ow that you’ve done everything that you’re supposed to in the estate. It’s fine if that’s what needs to be done and I will tell you if you have any sort of problem with any of the errors of the beneficiaries you might be better served to do that because this is it. This is their one chance to complain and frankly, sometimes it’s not even worth the effort of approaching somebody who has been difficult the whole way to ask them if they are going to waive an account.

So if we gotta do a first and final account that’s fine that’s what we’re going to do. A waiver of account just means anybody who’s going to inherit says I know I’m entitled to receive the account notwithstanding that, I’m going to sign this document saying I have the right to it, I’m giving up that right and I understand that in giving it up that that’s not going to change.

You don’t get to come back at a later time and say well I gave it up early but now I’d really like an account. It’s one time and it either happens or it doesn’t. If you’ve got a cohesive family and you think everybody is going to cooperate certainly seek the waiver. I think it makes a lot of sense, it certainly with expedite closing the estate because if we’ve got to do an account usually it takes us about four weeks to get that done. If you’ve got a particularly complex estate or there has been a great deal of activity it may even take longer than that so certainly the incentive for all the beneficiaries is that this will happen sooner, we can file sooner. I always recommend to clients if you’re going to do a waiver of account, offer to send copies of the financial records to the beneficiaries. There’s nothing wrong and by the way, there’s no privacy in this either, I sometimes have clients who say well gee isn’t this private information? Well to the world at large kind of but to the people who are going to inherit no, not at all.

So send them copies of the bank statements, send them a copy of the closing statement from when the house was sold, and anything else that they want so that they can be satisfied that you’ve done what you were supposed to do. And if they sign the waiver and cooperate that’s great, we can get to the actual petition to close the estate that much faster.

If we have to do the account that’s okay not a problem, remember your start date is the date of death so were going to use the inventory of appraisal to begin this, to say okay these are all the assets and effectively what we need to do is track that through time. So if we’ve got a bank account that stayed in place and it just kept collecting interest that’s fine, but we need all the bank statements that show that. If the house was sold, well great, it got turned into cash and it got deposited. There’s a closing statement from that. We need a copy of the closing statement. If there’s money that came in that you weren’t expecting, like a tax refund, or someone owed your loved one money and on their own, they said look I know I’m responsible, here’s a check I want to pay off my debt. Good news, it’s all gotta be reported.

Anything that you had to spend money on during the estate, during the administration of the estate, well, that has to be accounted for as well.

And remember what I talked about in one of the earlier videos and that’s getting you reimbursed if you had any out-of-pocket expenses. Well now is the time. Give us your complete list and don’t do this piece mail. Don’t give it to us, sign the petition, and then a couple of days before the hearing come back and say, “Oh I forgot about a couple of things I paid for.” Because it’s probably too late. So make sure you’ve gotten it all together. Now there’s gonna be some coordination with our paralegal. You’re gonna be asked for certain documents, no doubt you’ll send stuff in. There may be some questions about what’s in there. That’s the nature of putting an account together. It’s a consultative process.

So if you’ve got questions, let us know. We’re certainly gonna have questions for you and we’re going to let you know. Just provide it all. Once we’ve got it all together, we’ll get the petition ready for you, we’ll send it out to you so you can review it and see what it is we’re saying cause it’s gonna be based on our understanding of what you’ve reported to us. When you get that petition if everything looks right, date and sign it and send it back to us. If you look at it and you’ve got questions or you think something is just plain wrong, let us know. We want to correct it and get it right the first time. The goal is to get it in front of the judge, make sure it accurately reports everything, and with that, we’ll enclose the estate. You’ll know you’ll never have to look over your shoulder.

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