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Accounting and Audit

A Pennsylvania probate accounting and audit lawyer is here to answer your questions when you have concerns about how to proceed. If there are questions about the use of funds in an estate, a lawyer is necessary.

An accounting and audit probate lawyer in Pennsylvania is a powerful advocate and resource for you to turn to whether you are a personal representative or an individual beneficiary of the estate. A release agreement could be an option to protect a personal representative in many different cases. However, it might not be the most appropriate one depending on the circumstances of the estate administration.

When parties interested in the outcome of an estate’s probate, such as those who were entitled to receive assets, have questions about the way in which things were managed, they can request an accounting to get a better sense of what happened to the funds inside. This is the stakeholder’s chance to raise concerns about whether or not these funds were somehow mismanaged, so an estate administrator named in a case like this should be prepared to respond.

A release agreement is not recommended when there are unsatisfied claims, when the estate is insolvent, when beneficiaries are not willing to sign a release agreement, when there are other issues linked to court adjudication such as proposed distributions or approval of fees that have not yet been warranted by the court or when future beneficiaries of trusts funded by the estate are not appropriately represented in the release agreement.

For this reason, the formal accounting and audit process may be recommended to close out the estate with the personal representative. An accounting and audit probate attorney in Pennsylvania can help with this process. The personal representative has to prepare a formal accounting in order to trigger this as well as a statement of proposed distribution and petition for adjudication. The personal representative must also give notice of this filing to creditors who have outstanding claims, beneficiaries and any other party that the personal representative wishes to be bound by that adjudication. This is outlined under 20 Pa. C.S. 3501.1 and 3513. If notice is provided to a charity, the Pennsylvania Attorney General must also receive a notice. Any other individuals who have interest in the distribution of an estate, such as a creditor, a beneficiary or charity are eligible to file objections to the accounting based on Pennsylvania probate statutes 20 Pa. C.S. 3513. At this point in time, the account will be set for auditing according to the county calendar. After adjudicating objections and claims, the court will issue a decree of distribution, approving the accounting or modifying distributions as necessary. If your county does not hold audits and no objections are received by the objection date, the account is confirmed by the court and the decree of distribution is then issued. The account can also be confirmed nisi, meaning that it has been approved in a certain period of time and that no objections were received during the same time period. This means that the court has officially approved the audit. An Orphan's Court may not notify counsel of the date that is set for audit, so counsel is responsible for checking the court's calendar and audit schedule.

The personal representative can distribute assets according to the distributions set out in the accounting. Scheduling a consultation with an attorney is recommended if you are a personal representative or a beneficiary who believes that a personal representative has violated his or her fiduciary duty.

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