Accountings are a way to keep interested persons in an estate informed as to the activity of the estate. Accountings must be done even if the estate is not in supervised administration. Pursuant to MCL 700.3703(4) the personal representative must keep each presumptive distributee informed of the estate settlement. Until a beneficiary's share is fully distributed, the personal representative shall annually, and upon completion of the estate settlement, account to each beneficiary by supplying a statement of the activities of the estate and of the personal representative, specifying all receipts and disbursements and identifying property belonging to the estate. This may be accomplished by using Account of Fiduciary (PC 583) which can be used for most simple estates or Account of Fiduciary (PC 584) which should be used when you need to report gains or losses for assets. However, it is not required that either form be used since the accounting does not have to filed with the court unless the estate is in supervised administration. Failure of a personal representative to file the required accountings could result in an interested person filing a petition with the court in a formal proceeding for the removal of the personal representative or other relief. If the personal representative wishes an account to be allowed, the personal representative will file the Account of Fiduciary (PC 583 or PC 584) and the Petition to Allow Account (PC 585a). The petition will be heard by the court in a formal proceeding after notice to interested persons. An interested person can also question an accounting or a part of the accounting by filing a petition in a formal proceeding objecting to all or a part of the accounting which they have received. After notice to interested persons, the court will decide any questions raised about the accounting. Pursuant to Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 5.125(C)(6) the persons interested in a proceeding for examination of an account of a personal representative are as follows:
1. Devisees of a testate (will) estate, and if one of the devisees is a trustee or a trust, the persons referred to in MCR 5.125(B)(3)
2. Heirs of an intestate (no will) estate.
3. Claimants (but only if the claim remains unpaid).
Pursuant to MCR 5.125(B)(3) if a trust or trustee is a devisee under the will, the trustee of the trust if qualified. If a trustee is not qualified, then the current trust beneficiaries and nominated trustee, if any.
Accountings in supervised administration are controlled by MCR 5.310(C)(2). A personal representative in supervised administration is required to file an annual account with the court within 56 days after the end of the accounting period. The accounting period ends on the anniversary date of the issuance of the letters of authority. Failure to file such an annual account may result in an interested person filing a petition or the court acting on its own motion to suspend the personal representative's powers and ultimately remove the personal representative unless the omission is corrected. This is accomplished with Order Appointing Special Fiduciary and/or Suspending Powers of Fiduciary (PC 602). The personal representative is also required to file a final account with the court at the conclusion of administration of the estate. The court may require accountings on a more frequent basis. The personal representative may elect to change the accounting period so that it ends on a date other than the anniversary date of the issuance of letters. If the personal representative elects to make such a change, the first accounting period thereafter shall not be more than a year. A notice of the change must be filed with the court. The late filing of an accounting does not affect the end of the next accounting period.
Pursuant to MCR 5.310(C)(2)(c) the accounting must be itemized, showing in detail receipts and disbursements during the accounting period as well as the form and extent of the property on hand at the end of the accounting period, unless itemization is waived by all interested parties. Approval of compensation of an attorney may be sought in any of the accountings and must be sought in at least the final account. Approval of compensation of an attorney must be sought pursuant to MCR 5.313. A written description of services performed must be included or appended regarding compensation sought by a personal representative. The accounting must be filed on Account of Fiduciary, Short Form (PC 583) which can be used for most simple estates or Account of Fiduciary, Long Form (PC 584) which should be used when showing gains or losses to assets .
Pursuant to MCR 5.310(C)(2)(d) after filing and before the allowance of an accounting, the personal representative must make proofs of income and disbursements reasonably available for examination by any interested person who requests to see them or as required by the court. An interested person, with or without examination of the proofs of income and disbursements, may file an objection to an accounting with the court. If an interested person files an objection without examining the proofs and the court concludes that such an examination would help resolve the objection, the court may order the interested person to examine the proofs before the court hears the objection. It should be noted that it is up to an interested person to raise any objections to an accounting. The court does not normally review accountings unless an objection is filed.
Pursuant to MCR 5.310(C)(2)(e) hearings on each accounting may be deferred in the discretion of the court. The court at any time may require a hearing on an accounting with or without a request by an interested person. If an interested person objects to an accounting, the matter is set for hearing to determine whether the account should be allowed. The court allows an account by entering Order Allowing Account(s) (PC 585b). Pursuant to Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 5.125(C)(6) the persons interested in a proceeding for examination of an account of a fiduciary in a decedent's estate are as follows:
1. Devisees of a testate (will) estate, and if one of the devisees is a trustee or a trust, the persons referred to in MCR 5.125(B)(3).
2. Heirs of an intestate (no will) estate.
3. Claimants (but only if the claim remains unpaid). Pursuant to MCR 5.125(B)(3) if a trust or trustee is a devisee under the will, the trustee of the trust if qualified. If a trustee is not qualified, then the current trust beneficiaries and nominated trustee, if any.