The passing of accounts is a formal and technical process governed by various pieces of legislation including the Trustee Act, the Substitute Decisions Act, as well as case law. Accounts are passed before the court by way of application. The accounts are presented in a manner prescribed by Rule 74 of the Rules of Procedure which rule also sets out those upon whom the application must be served; the time for delivery of a Notice of Objection to Accounts by any person who is unsatisfied with the accounts or the claim for compensation by the trustee; the manner in which the application proceeds if no objections to the estate accounts are made; and, requests for increased costs on the application.
Objections to accounts arise when accounts are not properly prepared in accordance with Rule 74 so that it is difficult to understand the various transactions. Objections can also occur where beneficiaries object to a particular disbursement made by the personal representative, trustee, guardian or attorney from the estate or the amount of the disbursement.
The application to pass accounts must be served on all individuals with an interest in the estate, and those individuals can then file any objections they may have with the way in which the estate is administered including:
●Disagreement with transactions and decisions made;
●Disagreement with the amount of compensation being claimed by a trustee, attorney, or guardian;
●Disagreement over whether all property has been accounted for.
The court then has the discretion to grant or refuse an order based on a number of factors including:
●The nature and size of the estate;
●How complex the administration of the estate is;
●Whether there has been any litigation surrounding the estate up to that point in time;
●The terms in the will, trust, or other estate document.
●If the court does decide to review the accounts