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Warren's Heaton on Surrogate's Court Practice
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

7-94 Warren's Heaton on Surrogate's Court Practice 94.syn


Settlement of Estate Without Formal Accounting


Linda B. Hirschon, Greenberg Traurig, New York;Andrew L. Martin, Esq. Chief Court Attorney--Referee, Surrogate's Court, Nassau County;Eugene E. Peckham, Surrogate, Broome County;C. Raymond Radigan, Chairman, EPTL-SCPA Legislative Advisory Committee;Joshua S. Rubenstein;Peter N. Wells, former Surrogate, Onondaga County;* Chapter 94 was revised by Miriam R. Adelman, Esq.

Chapter Summary


This chapter, from Warren's Heaton on Surrogate's Court Practice (Matthew Bender), discusses procedures for informally settling an account without a judicial proceeding. The chapter compares procedures available under the SCPA, the effects of informal settlement, and when formal accounting will instead be required. The chapter also provides official forms for receipt and release, and forms for agreements settling accounts; in addition, it provides forms for petition and decree to be used in releasing and discharging an executor, administrator, trustee, or guardian.

The chapter outlines the basic procedures that a fiduciary must follow when settling an estate without formal accounting, including the preparation of receipt and release documents for persons receiving property of the estate, and a settlement agreement. The chapter provides forms for these documents, and lists to whom the documents must be sent; in addition, it provides case law supporting the enforcement of informal settlement agreements. The chapter also evaluates the fiduciary's option of filing or recording the instruments pursuant to SCPA 2202, or seeking a decree of the court pursuant to 2203.

Next, the chapter addresses situations when use of formal accounting schedules may be preferable even in an informal settlement, and when accounting in abbreviated form is sufficient. The chapter also discusses the court's reluctance to accept informal settlement agreements, and outlines situations in which objections to such agreements will be barred. The chapter also addresses exceptions to the general rule of allowing settlement by agreement, such as the effect of agreements procured by fraud. The chapter further covers situations in which the Surrogate will exercise discretionary power to initiate examination of accounts, even without objections or proof of fraud. Finally, the chapter reviews when the court will set aside an informal settlement and compel an accounting, and the burden of proof in that proceeding.

Warren's Heaton on Surrogate's Court Practice (Matthew Bender) provides comprehensive coverage and analysis of New York Probate and Estates practice issues. Accepted by the courts as the leading authority on practice in Surrogate's Court, topics include jurisdiction, intestacy, probate, appointment of representatives and guardians, estate administration, fiduciary duties, accounting, commissions and fees, litigation, Federal and New York estate tax, and construction of wills and trusts. The treatise covers case law affecting substance and procedure; analysis of SCPA, EPTL, and related statutes; procedural guidance; and over 1,000 forms including official New York Surrogate's Court Forms and current Federal and New York estate tax forms with explanations. The treatise also covers Reformation and Trust-splitting issues, Supplemental Needs Trusts, Uniform Transfers to Minors, and Revocable Living Trusts.


New York surrogate's court,surrogate's court of New York,settlement of estate without formal accounting,informal settlement of estate,Surrogate's Court Procedure Act,SCPA,settling accounts of fiduciary,approving accounts of fiduciary


For a complete discussion of jurisdiction and procedural matters, see Chapter 2, Jurisdiction; Powers of the Surrogate.

For complete discussion of powers and duties of the estate representative, see Chapter 61, Fiduciary Duties, Powers, and Liabilities Generally.

For further discussion of types of accounting proceedings, see Chapter 91, Accountings in General; Chapter 92, Property with Which Fiduciary is Charged; and Chapter 93, Credits to Fiduciary.

For accounting schedules, see Chapter 96, Voluntary Accountings. For discussion of when judicial proceedings may be required, see Chapter 97, Compulsory Accountings.


For comprehensive analysis of substantive and procedural law of estate administration in New York's Surrogate's Courts, see New York Estate Administration (Matthew Bender).

For forms of pleadings see Bender's Forms for the Civil Practice: Estate & Probate (Volumes 30 to 40) covering the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCPA) and Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) (Matthew Bender).

LexisNexis Answer Guide New York Surrogate's Court cites seminal cases and references to codes and court rules, and provides checklists and practice pointers (Matthew Bender).

See Modern Estate Planning (Matthew Bender) for coverage of all key estate planning topics, including gift taxation; transfers and interests subject to estate and gift taxation; estate and gift tax deductions; exclusions and credits; and generation-skipping transfers.

See Current Legal Forms for Estate Planning (Matthew Bender) for a wealth of sample estate planning forms, drafting guidance and expert legal commentary to assist in the fundamental and often time-consuming task of document drafting.
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