August 16, 2021

A passing of accounts refers to the process whereby the court approves of the estate trustee’s accounts. The accounts provide, among other things, details relating to the estate’s capital and revenue receipts and disbursements. While an estate trustee can voluntarily bring an application to pass accounts or be compelled to do so by the court, the filing of the notice of objection to the accounts is an integral part of the process.

Rule 74.18(7) of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in part, that a person who is served with a notice of application to pass accounts and who wishes to object to the accounts shall, at least 35 days before the hearing date specified in the notice of application, serve on the applicant, and file with proof of service, a notice of objection to accounts.

Generally, a notice of objection raises issues with the accounts and poses questions. The notice of objection may query the quantum or timing of the payment of certain expenses, for example, or may challenge the compensation being claimed by the estate trustee. Notably, a notice of objection often seeks production of supporting documentation, such as receipts or proof of payment, in order for the objector to satisfy him/herself as to the propriety of the management of the assets and the estate trustee’s dealings in regards to administering the estate.

Keep in mind that if an application to pass accounts is not ultimately resolved and the matter proceeds to a hearing, the court may take into account the reasonableness of the objections; in other words, there may be cost consequences for objectors who raise unnecessary challenges, such as those relating to minor or ordinary expenses.