Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

can i as a beneficiary to my brothers estate,see all checks written on that estate account and who they were written to

Asked on 6/10/13, 1:51 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

Is the estate being probated? Who is the personal representative? After a certain time, you have the right to request an accounting, which would show you the assets, debts, and to whom any payments were made.

If you think that the estate is not being properly administered, you should engage the services of an estates attorney in the county where the deceased resided.


* If the answers to your question confirm that you have a valid issue or worthwhile claim, your next step should almost always be to establish a dialog with a lawyer who can provide specific advice to you. Contact a lawyer in your county or township.

* Another reason for contacting a lawyer is that it is often impossible to give a good answer in the Internet Q&A format without having more information. The unique circumstances of your situation and things that you may not have thought to mention in your question may completely change the answer. If you want to be sure that you have a complete answer to your question and an understanding of what that answer means, establish a connection with a lawyer who practices in the area of your concern.

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Answered on 6/10/13, 7:20 pm

No. What you seek is an accounting which must be filed by the executor before an estate is closed out. The process can vary depending on where the estate is filed, but an accounting must be filed. If the beneficiaries do not agree to it they can object. The accounting should list or identify all property that came into the estate (this should also be on the document called an inventory) and indicate what disbursements were made. Usually the accounting must be supported by receipts or some other documentation.

In PA, an accounting usually must be filed with 12 months of death. If the final accounting cannot be filed by that point, then status reports have to be filed advising the court as to why. Some estates may have complicating issues that require the estate administration to continue beyond a year.

Why do you question these expenditures or why do you believe that they may be improper? In advance of an accounting, review of the estate file may help shed some light on this. The estate file should contain the will, application for probate and grant of letters testamentary, an order appointing the personal representative, proof that a notice to creditors was published in the newspaper, an inventory, any claims that were filed and annual/final accountings. What does the inventory tell you about what was owned by the decedent? What claims, if any were filed? If it looks like something is wrong, then I would have the estate file reviewed by your own independent probate lawyer who practices in the county/state where the estate is pending. If nothing else, perhaps review by the attorney will put your mind at ease. If their is something fishy though the lawyer can make an inquiry on your behalf. And if the personal representative is not doing his/her job, then he/she can be removed.

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Answered on 6/10/13, 7:38 pm

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