If 2 of 3 beneficiaries want an accounting ofan estate but the third beneficiary does not, must that beneficiary pay for the accounting out of their share of the inheritance?

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If 2 of 3 beneficiaries want an accounting ofan estate but the third beneficiary does not, must that beneficiary pay for the accounting out of their share of the inheritance?

My 2 sisters are having an estate accounting done on my father’s estate. They don’t trust the executor. It’s costing my father’s estate lawyers thousands which means it’s coming out of what would have been my share of the inheritance. I am against this accounting. Is there anything I can do to make sure the money that came out of my father’s lawyer’s fees comes back to me? After all, I am not the one who wants this accounting to take place. Can I send the lawyer a letter stating do not take it out of my share, or make sure the law fees are taken out of their percentage and not mine? Can I get my portion of inheritance money back?

Asked on August 9, 2011 New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the statutes of most states in this country, if one beneficiary requests an accounting of the estate's assets and liabilities, the accounting from a fiduciary perspective must be done.

In your situation, since you as a beneficiary under your father's estate do not want an accounting of it, but the other two beneficiaries do, not only is an accounting required, but its cost is to be paid from the estate as a whole, not from the individual shares of the two sublings that desire the accounting.

In reality, the cost for the accounting is coming out of one-third of your net share. Potentially the accounting may discover assets that were not accounted for increasing the size of the estate well beyond the cost of the accounting that you do not want to pay for.

You can write the attorney a letter expressing your desire to not have an accounting. It will do little good to prevent it.


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