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Florida probate-Final accounting for the personal representative

Miami, FL |

A Personal Representative will have expenses such as postage, copying, FedEx and other small charges. How much documentation must be kept? Is every single receipt kept or can a broad classification like, for intstance, "postage" used and the total postage expenses be totaled and recorded on the final accounting that is turned into the probate court. How exacting must the cateogies be for small charges.

How long are documents kept to show how a personal representative spent monies she is reimbursed for from the estate?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The accounting will not provide every detailed line item expense. Instead, it will provide a summary of expenses by class (for example, "postage" as you indicate in your question). The personal representative should retain the original receipts for the expenses to support them if he or she is called upon to do so. Once the accounting is approved by all relevant parties (including the probate court) and the personal representative is relieved from any respective liability, he or she could dispose of the original receipts. However, if the personal representative prepared and filed an estate and/or fiduciary income tax returns, he or she should continue to retain the original receipts in case of a respective tax audit during the respective statute of limitations period. Credit card statements instead of the respective original receipts may not be sufficient in the case of such an audit. The personal representative should consult with his or her attorney accordingly.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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Posted

Thanks for your question. Your question has multiple answers.
First-the attorney(if any) representing the PR should answer this question for the PR.
If you are a beneficiary-you can demand a detailed accounting, accept a general accounting or waive the accounting.
If everyone waives the accounting-it is not filed with the court.
If you demand a detailed accounting-the Florida statutes outline the format it should follow.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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Posted

I agree with the 2 prior answers and would like to add:

The real key here is whether the beneficiaries are fully informed as to the general flow of the estate... Is it obvious from the accounting what the true state of affairs is and has been? If so, you're in the clear, if not, storm clouds ahead...

Regarding specificity, it is a well-known ploy in some forms of commercial litigation to turn over the keys to warehouses full of boxed documents in response to interrogatories and say, "good luck!" You shouldn't do that with the estate accounting... it should not be hard to find out how much was spent on "utilities" or "taxes" or "funeral... On the other hand, hang on to every scrap of paper documenting the expenses, until the estate is closed; keep a few grocery bags handy.

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