Most Recently Updated Sept. 18, 2017.
From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Petition for Accounting Explained.
“I am the executor of my father’s estate in Lehigh County. My sister and I do not speak, so the process has been terrible. She refuses to sign the family settlement agreement I sent her and instead has filed a Petition for Accounting in the Orphans’ Court to make me submit a formal account. So, do I need to respond?”
As an Executor, You Must Respond to a Petition for Accounting.
Yes, you must respond to the petition. As a beneficiary, your sister has every right to ask that you file a formal account with the Court. She does not have to show that you have done anything wrong, only that she is a beneficiary. She may have done you a favor. From what you have said, it appears that she was never going to sign your family settlement agreement. If she didn’t sign the agreement, you might have dragged the estate administration on potentially for years. Now you get a court-mandated end date.
How to Respond to the Petition for Accounting.
You will need to file an accounting in a highly specific format, so you are best served by having an experienced Pennsylvania Probate Attorney assist you. In your case, you should find a Probate Attorney who has plenty of Formal Accounting experience. Further, experience before the court in Leigh County would be a plus.
You will retain your Probate Attorney as the Executor.
Take Special Care With Litigious Heirs.
As your sister is hostile, it is also advisable that you have a firm experienced in Lehigh County Orphans’ Court litigation. Your sister will have the chance to object to your accounting, and you will have to address those objections to the Court. Procedures and rules must be followed. It is best to have an excellent accounting submitted, which will make you look better to the court. Once the judge has ruled on all the objections, there will be a final order, which would finally release you as executor. Your sister may not have signed the family settlement agreement, but you will now get the same result but through a judge.
How to Respond to a Petition for Accounting?
In conclusion, in this Post, I tried to explain how to answer a Petition for Accounting. So, let me know how I did, comments and questions are welcome!
Feel free to contact me with further questions or contact our office to set up a free consultation.
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Author, Peter Klenk, Esq.