The lawyer handling my aunt's estate said that my MOM (a beneficiary of said estate) will receive a "small" accounting of the transactions during the execution of the estate. My Mom wants a "full" accounting. What is the difference; and does the law firm have to comply with my Mom's request. ?
1 Answer from Attorneys
A "small" accounting is called an "informal accounting" and that's an itemized list of all money collected and expenses paid out, and then showing how much was distributed to everyone. The court is not involved. Almost all estates are settled this way. The other way is called a "formal accounting" or "judicial accounting" where the executor sends every scrap of proof of assets collected and expenses paid to the court and eventually the accounting will be approved. It's really a costly and time-consuming process which takes a very long time to go through the court system. Very few estates are settled this way. Your mom would have to file papers to demand this formal accounting; she can't just send an email to the lawyer asking for it. Your mom should have a very good reason, such as there was something very fishy going on. Otherwise it's going to be a big waste of time and money for everyone.