From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: The lawyer serving as the executor for my aunt’s Philadelphia estate has sent me documents called an Informal Account and a Receipt, Release, Refunding and Indemnification Agreement. If I sign this, do I waive my rights to ask any questions?
As a beneficiary of your aunt’s estate, you have the right to have a probate attorney force the executor to file a Formal Account with the Philadelphia County Orphans’ Court. But, assembling a Formal Accounting will be a cost to the estate and may reduce your inheritance. Typically, when there are no disputes, the executor will instead assemble an Informal Accounting of the estate’s assets and expenses. This Informal Accounting is then submitted to the Beneficiaries for review.
If there are no objections, the Beneficiaries sign the Receipt and Refunding Agreement that accompanies the Informal Accounting. By doing so, the Beneficiaries agree that they do not want a Formal Accounting and waive all objections to the executor’s actions. So, if you are satisfied with the Informal Accounting you can sign the Agreement, but if you still have questions, you should not sign.
If you have questions, it would be a good idea to retain an experienced Philadelphia County Probate Attorney to walk you through and explain to you the accounting. You should never sign anything that you do not fully understand.