By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Administration and Probate Attorney
A client called me about an estate with a charitable beneficiary. Seems a family member was about to settle an estate probate administration when N.J. got involved. According to the client the Attorney General wanted a “formal accounting” before they would sign off on the estate.
I recall seeing statements that it may be quicker to file a formal accounting than waiting for the Attorney General’s office to approve an informal accounting when a charity is involved. By law the Attorney General has to be noticed when a charitable gift is involved and an accounting provided.
Seems as if everyone has a different experience. I have done “informal accountings” and provided standard release and refunding bonds to the Attorney General. I have had discussions with other attorneys who indicated that the DAG demanded a “formal accounting” from them.
Just to be clear: A formal accounting is an accounting filed with the Court. An informal accounting is not filed with the Court.
Most times the Attorney General has not required a formal accounting. They have required a detailed accounting in a format that can be clearly followed and that ties in opening balances to closing balances of income and corpus. My suggestion: Submit an informal accounting and if there is “push back” then work to resolve the push back. It really depends on what’s at issue.
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