How Do You Know if a Trust Accounting Is Accurate?

A professional trust accountant going over a trust accounting with a client to show where she found inaccuracies to prepare her for a court case.Trust accounting in California is an essential protection for beneficiaries that ensures the trustee is administering the trust per the probate code and the terms of the trust document. But even when a trustee prepares an accounting, it can still be inaccurate, and even the smallest inaccuracies can have significant consequences on the trust and your inheritance. At Marcia L. Campbell, we have helped beneficiaries and trustees through our CPA trust accounting services ensure that accountings are accurate and there are no transgressions.

Learn how you can know if an accounting is accurate and why you should work with an expert trust accountant in our blog:

Related Article: What is the Purpose of a California Trust Accounting?

How Do You Know if a Trust Accounting is Accurate?

Having a trustee prepare trust accounting in California is a window into how they are administering a trust. If litigation is the final line of defense, this is a close second.

Still, just because a trustee prepares an accounting and has to sign and verify the accuracy of the accounting, it can be inaccurate. An inaccurate accounting can signal negligence, outright malfeasance, or ignorance, all of which have severe repercussions on your trust.

The best way to check the accuracy of an accounting is by reviewing copies of all the financial records and information the trustee used to prepare it. Still, depending on your situation, this may require some finesse.

“It is impossible to understate the importance of an accounting in protecting your trust and inheritance. But if you know what to look for in these records, you can ensure you’re never at the mercy of a trustee with ulterior motives,” explained Marcia L. Campbell, an expert trust accountant with years of experience preparing and verifying accountings to protect beneficiaries and trustees alike.

Imagine that the accounting includes records from a specific bank account. To access these records, you have to subpoena the bank and acquire a copy of all the bank records the trustee used for that accounting period.

After obtaining all the records, you have to check them against the accounting to determine if the information they reported is accurate. Also, remember that you also have to verify the records of the brokerage accounts, insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, and more.

“To verify the accuracy of an accounting, you have to go over several documents in granular detail. It’s important to remember that every number reported in an accounting has to be accurate. Going through these reports with a fine tooth comb is time and labor-intensive. But just like a stylist doesn’t mind combing through hair, we don’t mind doing the same for your accounting,” added Marcia. 

Reviewing a trust accounting requires considerable experience and an understanding of the nuances of probate law to determine if a trustee has violated their duty. Fortunately, with a professional trust accountant like Marcia, you have both of those traits in abundance.

Related Article: Trust Accounting 101: How Do I Prepare a California Trust Accounting

An Expert Trust Accountant in California

Untangling the financial web an underhanded (or simply ignorant) trustee has created is a complicated task. Failing to catch errors in a trust accounting promptly can have significant consequences on a trust and its beneficiaries, especially when it comes to litigation. Whether you need to object to an accounting, want to have a trustee removed, or are a trustee who is defending the accuracy of an accounting, working with an expert trust accountant is of the utmost importance.

To ensure your accounting is accurate and complies with California the Probate Code, visit our contact page and fill out a form for professional accounting.

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