Legal Memorandum: Compulsory Accounting of an Estate in NY

Issue: Under 2205 of the N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act, under what circumstances may a court order an accounting on an estate?

Area of Law: Estate Planning & Probate
Keywords: Accounting of an estate; Court order
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act § 2205, § 3203; N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 103(39)
Date: 02/01/2001

Under N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act § 2205, a Court may order an accounting on the petition of a person interested in the estate when it appears that an accounting would be in "the best interests of the estate."  In this case, substantial assets have been turned over to the administrator.  The administrator’s attorney has continued to delay transfer of the only remaining assets—certain blue-chip stock certificates—in an attempt to delay an accounting and the distribution to petitioner of his intestate share.  A compulsory accounting is justified when a fiduciary has long delayed distribution to a party entitled to estate assets.  In re Will of Usdan, 125 Misc. 2d 494, 480 N.Y.S.2d 81, 82 (Surr. Ct. 1984)

In those cases, subject-matter jurisdiction for this petition is based on N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 201 (McKinney 1994) that gives the Surrogate’s Court jurisdiction over all matters relating to the estates of decedents.  Personal jurisdiction has been satisfied pursuant to N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 3203 by personal service of this petition on the Administrator as established by the attached affidavit of service.  Petitioner is entitled to compulsory accounting pursuant to N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 2205 as a "person interested" in the estate.  If petitioner is decedent’s son, entitled to an intestate share of the decedent’s estate, and they would  therefore be a "person interested" as defined by N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 103(39).


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