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How to petition for final accounting & distribution of estate assets

The court form entitled "Petition for Final Accounting and Distribution of Estate Assets" is one of the very last filed in a probate action. The executor or personal representative of the will fulfils many procedural requirements before she prepares the petition. She locates heirs, gathers assets, verifies and pays debts, and prepares tax forms. Once she finishes the work involved in preparing the estate for distribution, she drafts a Petition for Final Accounting. This document advises the court how the estate intends to distribute assets, and outlines the estate's financial dealings.

Obtain a sample of a petition for final accounting and distribution of estate assets. Alternatively, find a fillable form on a court Internet site. This form varies among states and even among jurisdictions in one state. Ask the probate court in the jurisdiction where your case is pending for a sample form and the exact procedural requirements.

Determine the appropriate time to file the petition. Generally, you can file a final account and petition for distribution once the time for filing creditors' claims has passed and you have paid estate debts, including taxes. The estate should be ready to be closed. In some states, like California, you must file the petition within one year after Letters Testamentary are issued; if you is not prepared to do so, file a verified status report to advise the court of the condition of the estate.

Fill in the form or draft the document. Follow the procedures in your jurisdiction. Generally you must include an accounting, a report of administration in which you describe all actions taken in administering the estate and a petition asking the court to approve the accounting and the distribution of the estate assets. Prepare the petition in legal pleading format. Describe each asset and the heir inheriting it in the manner required in your jurisdiction.

Prepare a notice of hearing. Have the notice mailed by a third party to all interested persons including all heirs and debtors. Check local court rules to see how far before the hearing you must provide notice. Ask the person mailing notice to provide a proof of service for the court.

Appear at the time and place scheduled for the hearing. Ask the judge to approve your petition.

Warning

In large or complex estates, executors require attorneys and accountants to assist with the preparation of the estate accounting.

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About the Author

Living in France and Northern California, Teo Spengler is an attorney, novelist and writer and has published thousands of articles about travel, gardening, business and law. Spengler holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley. She is currently a candidate for a Master of Fine Arts in fiction.