Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

Is a Final Accounting required in Florida?

My aunt passed away in Jan of 2005 a resident of Florida. I am one of the beneficiaries in her will. Her nephew is the personal representative. The personal representative called me earlier this week and said '' I am just signing off on the tax forms everything is done and you should get your check by the end of next week''. I was under the impression that before we receive a check, each beneficiary would receive a copy of the final accounting that we need to sign off on and approve before distributions can be made. Am I correct in this assumption? We doubt somewhat the PR's trustworthiness so we were warned to make sure we dont waive our rights to a final accounting, which we havent. Does he need to send us a copy of the final accounting to approve before he makes distribution? Thank you for any help you can give.

Asked on 10/14/05, 2:44 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.
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Re: Is a Final Accounting required in Florida?

First, you have not indicated whether your interest is a specific bequest or an interest in the residuary estate. The former would illustrated as a specific amount; for example a line in the Will that says "To John Smith, the sum of $5,000." The latter would be illustrated as The balance of of my estate "To John Smith or John Smith and others." While Florida does require that some accounting be submitted to the Surrogate, a person who is to receive a specific bequest does not have an automatic right to see the accounting if the full amount is to be paid. Only those who have an interest in the residuary estate (what is left after all expenses, taxes, debts, specific bequests and the like) should require and be entitled to an accounting, as what happens within the estate effects and impacts on what they will receive. This is not the case with people who only are to get a specific amount and there are sufficient assets to pay the specific amounts. One final point, even if you are a residual beneficiary, no accounting need be provided if the check is for a preliminary, not your final, distribution. If you are a residual beneficiary, and this is the final distribution of assets, do not accept the check until you receive a full and complete accounting.

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Answered on 10/14/05, 10:53 am
David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.
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Re: Is a Final Accounting required in Florida?

Before or after.

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Answered on 10/14/05, 3:38 am

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