Contested Accounting

Heirs and beneficiaries may seek to remove a fiduciary of an estate or trust in which they have an interest. Removing a fiduciary can be challenging, but in some cases it is the necessary course of action. In other cases, the effort to remove the fiduciary can be misguided or even fraudulent. Each situation is unique and requires the evaluation of an attorney with the knowledge and experience in all types of estate matters. In matters relating to a contested accounting, it is particularly important to have an attorney who understands the accounting proceeding.

At the law firm of Sweeney, Reich, & Bolz LLP, our attorneys represent petitioners and respondents in matters arising from contested accountings. We also defend fiduciaries against ill-advised or wrongful efforts to contest the accounting. In either case, clients know that our attorneys will provide them with effective and aggressive representation, taking on cases that other law firms will not.

When beneficiaries of a trust or estate seek to contest the accounting, the most common grounds cited are:

  • Wrongful removal of assets from the estate or not pursuing wrongfully removed assets
  • Failure to consider tax issues
  • Implementing bad investment strategies
  • Paying fraudulent or improper claims
  • Incurring excessive fees and expenses
  • Failure to keep required records or report to beneficiaries

Beneficiaries who suspect that a fiduciary administering a loved one’s estate may be involved in fraudulent or incorrect accounting have recourses in Surrogate’s Court. Similarly, fiduciaries who opt to defend their accounting need competent counsel. Heirs have the right to expect that the fiduciary responsible for winding up an estate will act responsibly and ethically. However, they may sometimes have a misguided or incorrect view of the role of the fiduciary and his or her responsibility.

When our attorneys represent either the petitioner or respondent in contested accounting proceedings, we gather and analyze all the relevant financial records. In many cases, there are many months or years worth of documents that are submitted for evidence. Analyzing and identifying those records that can be helpful to a client’s case can be time-consuming and requires a legal advisor who thoroughly understands both probate and estate administration as well as business and accounting principles. Our attorneys at Sweeney, Reich & Bolz LLP are qualified and skilled at representing clients in contested accounting proceedings and have extensive knowledge in the estate and accounting aspects of these proceedings.