Keeping Records, Annual Accounting, & Filing Tax Returns
Probate is for the benefit of everyone who has an interest in the estate, including the heirs and the estate’s creditors. These parties are entitled to information about the estate and its assets and claims. Texas law requires the personal representative to provide these accountings once a year and more frequently if the estate is held open longer than fifteen months.
What is an Accounting?
An accounting refers to providing interested parties with information about the estate assets and claims. It must include a:
- Description of all property not included on the inventory.
- List of changes in estate property.
- Report of all receipts by source and nature, separated by principal and income.
- Detailed list of disbursements with support therefore.
- Description of all property that is administered and its condition and use and any rental terms.
- List of all cash balances with support therefore.
- List of all personal property, including its location and value.
- Statement that all required tax returns for the period have been filed and taxes paid or an explanation as to why the returns were not filed or taxes not paid.
- List of claims owed by the estate that are unpaid.
It can be difficult and expensive to compile this information, which is why many personal representatives go to some lengths to close the estate before the accounts are required or make distributions to heirs to encourage them not to request accountings.
The Annual Accounting
The personal representative is required to file a sworn, written report with the court within twelve months from the date they are appointed as personal representative. They are required to file the inventory again each successive twelve months until the estate is closed.
The accounting must be on record with the court for ten days before it can be presented to the court for consideration. The court can then review the accounting and determine whether its is correct and whether the bond needs to be adjusted accordingly. The court will enter an order of approval once it is satisfied with the accounting.
In addition to annual accountings, any interested party to the estate has a right to an accounting at any time after fifteen months from the date the personal representative is appointed. The interested party can petition the court for an accounting after two years.
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