Preparing an Estate Accounting in Washington DC
Serving as a personal representative of a decedent’s estate in Washington DC comes with many opportunities and responsibilities. One responsibility is the duty to prepare and submit an accurate estate accounting to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
It is understandable that individuals serving in this role may be overwhelmed, but a local trusts and estates attorney could provide essential support. If you are tasked with preparing an estate accounting in Washington DC, let a lawyer help ensure that it is done correctly and in a timely manner.
Taking an Inventory of Estate Assets
In essence, an estate accounting is a financial record of everything that the representative has done to settle the estate of a decedent. This can include taking an inventory of the estate’s assets, keeping records of all bills paid and income received, and submitting a final version of these records to the court for approval.
Once the Superior Court of the District of Columbia names an individual as a decedent’s personal representative, they need to get to work quickly to fulfill their duties. The first step is to create an inventory of the estate’s assets. These assets can take on many forms and typically include:
- Cash in bank accounts
- Real estate
- Business assets
- Stock, bonds, or other financial instruments
- Physical property
According to the Code of the District of Columbia § 20-711, representatives must submit a comprehensive inventory to the court no more than three months after their date of appointment.
Keeping Records of the Administration of the DC Estate
The next step in the estate accounting process in DC is the distribution of property and the payment of debts. A representative could begin distributing property as soon as they receive the letters of administration from the court. Regardless of the timing, a representative must be sure to complete this distribution as quickly as they can while still retaining accuracy, so they should consult a local attorney as soon as possible before doing so.
At the same time, representatives must pay off the decedent’s debts. Creditors may come forward claiming a decedent owed them on a personal loan, as may banks or credit unions that forwarded capital. The representative must always be certain that the estate pays its debts prior to the distribution of assets to the relevant legatees.
Keeping an accurate record of these transactions is vital. The court examines these records for accuracy and to ascertain whether the representative has fulfilled their duty for the good of the estate.
Submitting a Final Accounting to the Court
The final step in estate administration involves submitting a final accounting to the court. Under DC Code § 20-724, all representatives must submit an accounting to the court no more than one year from receiving the notice concerning the estate’s creation. The court may order subsequent accountings every nine months after that.
Once a representative believes they have taken the necessary steps to fulfill the purpose of the estate, they can request that the court end the process by submitting a final accounting. A DC attorney could help to determine if the time is right to request this step and, if so, submit the necessary documentation.
Let an Attorney Assist with the Preparation of an Estate Accounting in Washington DC
If you are the personal representative of a decedent in charge of handling an estate’s affairs, you need to understand your obligations under the law. Overseeing an estate can be a complex matter, and the law can penalize people who do not take this role seriously.
There are various steps involved in preparing an estate accounting in Washington DC. A qualified attorney may be able to provide essential guidance in each of these areas. Reach out today to learn more about estate accounting and your role in the process.