Who has standing to compel a Passing of Accounts?

June 21, 2013 Hull & Hull LLP Passing of Accounts Tags: 0 Comments

When a will challenge is launched, those who have been disinherited will also often request that the Estate Trustee provide them with an accounting of their administration of the estate to date. Should the Estate Trustee refuse, the disinherited individual will often threaten to bring an Application to compel the Estate Trustee to pass their accounts.

The reasoning behind why a disinherited beneficiary may want the Estate Trustee to pass their accounts seems simple enough. By forcing the Estate Trustee to pass their accounts, the disinherited beneficiary would not only receive information pertaining to what assets the estate is composed of, but also about what steps the Estate Trustee has taken in the administration thus far.

But does a disinherited beneficiary, who otherwise has no financial interest in the estate, have standing to seek an order that the Estate Trustee must commence an Application to pass their accounts?

Rule 74.15(1)(h) of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides that any person who appears to have a financial interest in an estate may move for an Order requiring the Estate Trustee to pass their accounts.

Arguably, those who have been written out of the will do not yet have a “financial interest” in the estate, and thus would not have standing under rule 74.15(1)(h) to seek an order requiring the Estate Trustee to pass their accounts.

Should the will challenge ultimately be successful, and the disinherited beneficiary receive an interest in the estate at that time, the disinherited beneficiary would then be in the position to have standing to compel a passing of accounts. Until receiving an actual financial interest in the estate however, any proceedings to compel a passing of accounts may arguably be premature.

Thank you for reading.

Stuart Clark 

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