(a) Stewardship:The main object or preparing Estate Accounts is to record the assets which have been entrusted to the "stewards" — the executors — and the manner in which they have been applied.(b) Distinction between income and capital:Where the estate has both a life tenant and a remainderman, it is necessary to segregate so as to distinguish between the interest of the life tenant in the income and that of the remainderman in the capital. Segregation is achieved either by the use of columns separating income from capital or separate accounts. Where there is no life interest, this apportionment is not necessary.(c) Apportionment:Apportionment may be according to statutory rules or those established in equity. With the majority of items, it is relatively easy to decide whether they are capital or income, but in a few cases it is not possible to allocate them completely to either section.
In these cases it is necessary to apportion the item between income and capital. The Apportionment Act sets out a number of situations in which an apportionment is to be made and such division between income and capital is termed a statutory apportionment.There are also a number of situations where the statutory apportionments do not apply.
In these cases, the courts have laid down rules as to how the division is to be made and these are termed equitable apportionments.(d) Accounts required:The basic accounts required for an estate or trust are as follows:—
(e) Executors' accounts and trustees' accounts:Executors' and trustees' accounts are in many respects similar. Both distinguish between income and capital but may do so for different reasons. Estate accounts arise because of the death of a person.
Trustees' accounts may arise simply as an extension of estate accounts, where part of the deceased's property is held in trust. Alternatively, trust accounts may arise as a result of a settlement inter vivos.