The standard format of probate accounts is a simple one. First the accountant states his or her name and that of the deceased, and also usually states their addresses and occupations and their relationship to one another. Durham accounts are frequently not explicitly dated, but rather perhaps endorsed or subscribed with a date upon which the account was admitted or exhibited at court. These dates can often be confirmed and supplemented by consulting the Probate Act Books. Occasionally, if the account extends over some time, individual items of expenditure are also dated.
Next the accountant states the charge or gross value of the estate, which is usually the total of the inventory already exhibited in the court.
|This Accomptant chargeth her self with the sum[m]e of
one Hundred & thirty three pounds Fifteen Shillings and
Eight pence being the sum[m]e Totall of her receipts as
is menc[i]oned in the In[vent]ory hereunto annexed
|133 li 15 s 8 d|
Then the accountant itemises the discharge, which is the disbursements and expenses incurred during administration.
|Impr[i]mis This Accomptant craveth an allowance to the
Sum[m]e of 3 li: paid for taking adm[inistrati]on at NewCastle with Expenses
|3 li 0 s 0 d|
Finally the account is balanced, and the total net value of the estate is either in credit or in deficit (or 'surplussage'). The accountant frequently then makes an apportionment between the interested parties.
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