An accounting is one of the final steps in administering an estate. It is the final reconciliation of all assets in the estate, all expenses of the estate, and any interim distributions. A formal accounting is filed with the court. An informal accounting may be done as well and is presented to the beneficiaries as a summary of the administration of the estate. Pennsylvania and New Jersey accept the national standard form for filing of accounting. The accounting should list all the items that were received into the estate. This may be separated into categories such as real estate, cash accounts, personal property, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

The accounting will indicate if there have been any gains, losses or other disposition of property received into the estate since the estate was opened through the time of the accounting. Any distributions of the estate would be listed such as personal debts of the decedent paid from the estate, funeral expenses, administration expenses and legal fees, where applicable. Finally, the accounting will state the balance of the estate after disbursements. This is the amount available for distribution to the beneficiaries presuming the accounting is accepted. It is important for the executor or administrator to keep detailed records while handling the estate to make sure the final accounting can be accurately prepared.