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214-691-3411
Free Consultation 214-691-3411

Dallas Estate Accounting Attorneys

filling out accounting paperworkIf the executor or administrator of your deceased family member’s estate doesn’t provide an accounting, contact Staubus and Randall immediately. We could represent you in a case against the executor for failing to uphold their duties or engaging in fraudulent activity while administering the estate.

At Staubus and Randall, we represent beneficiaries in estate accounting matters after the death of a loved one. You should have access to various documentation and receive updates regarding the financial conditions of the property in the estate. If the executor or administrator withholds necessary information or violates your rights, you could seek legal action against them.

Call Staubus and Randall at 214-691-3411 today for your free consultation with one of our Dallas estate litigation attorneys and learn more about what we can do for you.

Understanding the Elements of Estate Accounting

An accounting is a written document that includes details regarding an estate’s financial condition. It contains information about the disposition of property, debts, taxes, and other relevant details.

Interested parties can request an accounting if the executor or administrator of the estate doesn’t file one.

The executor owes beneficiaries a fiduciary duty to disclose accounting information. The right to obtain formal accounting begins fifteen months after the court issues letters testamentary or a letter of administration authorizing the administration of the estate.

Texas Laws Regarding Estate Accounting

Sometimes beneficiaries feel excluded from the probate process. While an executor or administrator handles the estate, they might not be as communicative as the beneficiaries would like about their estate-related activities. That doesn’t necessarily mean an executor has hidden something or purposely withheld information. However, knowing how someone handles the estate and the status of various assets is the beneficiary’s right.

According to Texas Estates Code 404.001, interested persons may demand an accounting from the administrator or executor of the estate fifteen months after the court issues a letter of administration or letters testamentary. The executor must provide the demanded information in writing. That information could include:

  • Any estate property that came into the possession of the executor
  • Dispositions of the property
  • Paid debts
  • Expenses and debts the estate still owes
  • Any estate property still in the executor’s possession
  • Other facts necessary to provide a definite and full understanding of the estate’s exact condition
  • Any facts that demonstrate why the executor can’t close administration and distribute the remaining assets

Upon demanding information, any other interested party can receive a copy of the accounting or any exhibit the executor made under state law.

If the executor doesn’t furnish an accounting within 60 days of the date of the interested party’s demand, the interested party could pursue legal action in probate court. The court might issue an order requiring the executor to comply with state law and provide the required accounting information.

Besides the initial accounting, beneficiaries can also request periodic accounting. The executor can only supply the information in intervals of twelve months or more after the initial accounting has been provided.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Options

Estate lawyersEstate administration can become contentious among beneficiaries and executors. There might be disagreements over how someone handles the process or questions regarding the exact assets left in the estate.

If you must pursue a lawsuit to resolve the dispute, it could be a time-consuming and costly process. An alternate solution could be beneficial and help you reach a favorable outcome.

Texas law doesn’t require the parties involved in probate administration to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). However, the court might order mediation or arbitration for opposing sides to try to work out the issue outside of court before proceeding with litigation.

Mediation and arbitration have similar goals but different methods. Both aim to settle legal matters without the court’s involvement.

Mediation

During mediation, opposing parties meet with a mediator to try to resolve the issue. The mediator must listen to each side’s wishes and recommend solutions. Mediators don’t make decisions for the parties. Mediators can’t issue judgments or force a resolution. They are simply there to suggest how to settle the matter outside of court.

The various benefits of mediation include:

  • Less money – Typically, mediation is cheaper than pursuing a lawsuit in court. That’s because you don’t have to worry about paying as many attorneys’ fees or having lawyers prepare court filings. The time you spend in mediation only requires the fees your attorney charges and mediation costs, such as reserving a room for the meeting.
  • Confidentiality – When you enter a will into probate, it becomes a matter of public record. Every hearing you attend and the documentation you provide to the judge also become a matter of public record and accessible to anyone with access to the internet. Mediation is private. Outside parties can’t request the information or obtain copies of any documents that are used in the mediation.
  • Flexibility – Mediation is more flexible than litigation. There’s room for discussing how you want to handle the matter and negotiating the terms of an agreement.
  • Informal setting – Unlike courtrooms, mediation rooms aren’t as intimidating. Instead of standing before a judge, you can sit in a conference room, attorney’s office, or another relaxed environment to discuss the dispute. You can also speak freely about the case without the need to meet procedural requirements.
  • More control – Each party involved in mediation has a say in the outcome of the case. Unlike litigation, where the judge issues a ruling, both sides have control over how to settle the matter.

Arbitration

Arbitration is similar to mediation in many ways. It takes place in an informal setting, costs less than litigation, and allows each side more control over negotiations.

Both parties can meet with an arbitrator during the arbitration to discuss the dispute. Each side has the opportunity to present evidence and testimonies and advise how they would like to resolve the issues. However, the arbitrator has the authority to issue a legally binding decision.

Contact Us

At Staubus and Randall, our Dallas estate accounting attorneys understand the stress and frustration of discovering the estate’s executor or administrator aren’t fulfilling their duties. You have a right to various accounting information while settling your loved one’s estate. Our team can represent your interests and pursue legal action on your behalf.

If you face a dispute regarding an estate’s accounting, call Staubus and Randall at 214-691-3411 for your free consultation today.

The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

Staubus & Randall Team

What Our Clients Say

"I recently had the occasion to hire Mr. Staubus for a hotly contested Guardianship matter. Mr. Staubus brought a rare combination of effectiveness, reasonableness and understanding of the human element involved. Mr. Staubus handled all things in a calm, highly competent, effective and reasonable way. It could not have been as easy as he made it seem. He's a credit to the Bar."

Jody

"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."

Martha

"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."

Joann

"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”

Karen

"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

David

"After my husband's death, I was devastated by having to defend against a vicious dispute over my husband's estate. Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus made me feel very comfortable in this distressing situation. They were very tough and did an excellent job for me in obtaining a summary judgment in my favor without a full jury trial. I was glad to have them and Diane Walker in my corner to help me achieve an excellent result - I won! If I ever had to go back to probate court, I would hire them again.” - (will and trust construction case)

Flo

"If you need intervention for someone you love but don't know where to turn or who to turn to, Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus helped me through the most difficult and stressful time in my life with a much loved family member. I now believe that good will triumph over evil. They fought for what was right, and good prevailed." (contested guardianship and will contest)

Janet

"As a professional money manager, I have used Ryan Randall's estate planning services both personally and for my clients. Ryan has exhibited three critical attributes in his work with me: (1) high intellectual capacity, (2) exceptional thoroughness, and (3) a total commitment to integrity. In today's litigious world, it can be quite costly not to "get things done right.” An added bonus to us was that we found one of the nicest people we could imagine.”

John

"I was represented by Keith Staubus as an income beneficiary in a lawsuit with the trustee of a family trust. Utilizing the expertise of a forensic accountant and his own trust expertise, Keith was able to negotiate a judicial modification of the trust providing for the buyout of my income interest for a substantial lump sum payment out of the trust, resulting in a win-win situation for all of the parties. I highly recommend Staubus/Randall for any trust disputes and trust modification actions."

Kathy

"I have been a wealth management specialist and retirement plan consultant with the Dallas/Fort Worth financial community for over 20 years. I have engaged Ryan Randall to work with a number of my best clients over the years, including business owners, professionals and families. My clients always appreciate Ryan’s straightforward approach to estate planning, asset protection planning and business succession planning. He makes even the most sophisticated estate planning strategies understandable."

Larry

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