In this article, we explain who is entitled to an estate accounting in Illinois probate. We answer:
If the decedent has a valid will, the person the decedent named as executor in the will is responsible for a full accounting of the estate, the distribution of assets and providing an estate accounting to anyone that is classified as an interested person or party. If there is no will, or an executor has not been named, an administrator appointed by the court will be responsible for the estate accounting, as well as all other duties expected of an executor.
The executor or administrator is responsible for gathering the assets of the decedent, identifying and paying debts (if any), and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries outlined in the will of the deceased. An estate accounting is a document that sets forth the assets gathered by the executor or administrator of an estate and to whom these assets will be distributed.
Once an accounting is made, Illinois law stipulates that the accounting should include receipts and disbursements of the representative since the last accounting, and all real estate and personal property shall be accompanied by evidence that the disbursements have taken place. Ultimately, the detail necessary for an estate accounting will vary depending on whether the probate case is classified under independent or supervised administration. To learn more, read our article entitled Illinois Probate: What is the Difference Between Independent Administration and Supervised Administration?
Parties entitled to an estate accounting include the decedent’s beneficiaries, creditors and the court. All of those parties fall into the “interesting persons” category, and are therefore entitled to a full accounting. Whether the case is considered an independent administration or supervised administration may change the timing and frequency of full estate accounting, but the eligibility of the parties named remains the same.
Those with a financial, property or fiduciary interest in the decedent’s estate that might be affected by the estate administration process, can qualify as an interested person who may be entitled to an estate accounting. Examples of interested persons include:
The biggest difference between a supervised administration and an independent administration is court supervision over the representative’s actions and the estate administration process. Supervised administration is typically implemented when there are disputes between the parties over the decedent’s property. During a supervised administration, the court must approve of all distributions of assets, requiring that full accounting be made at specific times. Independent administration does not adhere to the same strict schedule of a supervised administration. The executor of an estate with independent administration is only required to submit a thorough inventory of the decedent’s estate at the beginning of the case and a full accounting before the estate is closed. It is not as highly regulated in the interim as a supervised administration. However, accepting a job as executor of an independent administration is a huge responsibility. The representative is solely held accountable for distribution of the entire estate, and therefore vulnerable to the consequences of any mistake.