Our friends at http://www.allaboutestates.ca/ have posted a really interesting entry summarizing two recent Ontario cases. Each of the cases dealt with estates in which beneficiaries objected to the executor's accounting. Because of the objections, the accounts were heard in court.
In these cases, the judge felt that the objections raised by the beneficiaries were book-keeping errors or small issues. In one case, the objections raised by the beneficiary were not really about the accounting; they were simply expressions of unhappiness with how the estate had been administered. The important thing, the judge said, is that all of the money was accounted for and it was possible to resolve the small issues in other ways (such as adjusting the executor's fee) without forcing the executor to pass accounts in court.
The beneficiaries had costs awarded against them.
The lesson to be learned from these cases is that the courts want executors and beneficiaries to work out small issues and errors in an accounting. The court should only be called on to deal with more serious issues. Click here to read the article.