In this article, we explain when should an estate provide an accounting, answering:
Anyone with a financial, property or fiduciary interest in the decedent's estate that may be affected by the estate administration process, can qualify as an interested person who may be entitled to an estate accounting. If any creditors make a claim against the decedent’s estate, they are also entitled to an accounting.
For more information, see our article entitled Who is Entitled to an Estate Accounting in Illinois?
To begin, the executor should provide the court with an inventory of the decedent’s entire estate. Once the probate case is opened, an initial accounting of the estate covers the first 12 months of the proceedings, and the inventory must be submitted within 60 days of the expiration of that time period. The court is also entitled to a full estate accounting at the conclusion of the case. Before the estate can be closed, a full accounting must be filed with the court.
The frequency of reports depends highly on whether the process is a supervised administration or an independent administration. Supervised administration of an estate is typically imposed when there are heavy disputes amongst the beneficiary parties, in which case, the executor needs the approval of the court throughout the interim of the probate proceedings. The court can request that the executor present an updated accounting of the estate at any point while the probate case is open.
If the case is carried out as an independent administration, the executor might only present an inventory or estate accounting at the beginning and end of the case. Beneficiaries can request a court accounting of the estate regardless of the method by which the probate case is being handled, as long as they qualify as an interested party of the decedent’s estate. That does not necessarily mean that the interested party is entitled to an accounting. Approval or denial of the request will be made at the court’s discretion. If all interested parties agree, it is possible to request that a simplified accounting be shared during independent administration in order to reduce the cost of having a detailed accounting prepared.
To learn more about supervised and independent administration, check out our article Illinois Probate: What is the Difference Between Independent Administration and Supervised Administration
It is important to note that even when an estate accounting is not required by the court, the executor still has the responsibility of keeping all interested parties informed about the estate and its distribution. Also, failure to provide the court or an interested party with an accurate estate accounting can result in serious consequences for the executor.