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.

To discuss your NJ Estate Probate Administration matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.