- November 10, 2022
- Posted By:hmvreeland
If you are appointed Executor or Administrator of an estate, the court may want you to obtain a probate bond, sometimes referred to as fiduciary bond. A California probate bond is a type of Surety bond. It guarantees that the personal representative of the estate will act according to the state’s law or the terms of the testamentary documents. The purpose of a probate bond is to protect the heirs or beneficiaries from loss caused due to the personal representative’s failure to carry out their duties.
How Much Does a Probate Bond Cost?
The cost of a probate bond is usually dependent on the value of the estate, the amount of coverage required, and the purchaser’s credit history. It is important to note that the buyer pays a small percentage of the bound amount, not the entire amount. For example, if the bond amount is $250,000, the buyer may be required to pay somewhere between $1,000 -$1,100 annually, but as the bond amount increases, the premium paid decreases as a percentage.
Who Needs a Probate Bond?
Not all estate Executors are required to purchase a probate bond. In many cases, Wills waive the requirement to buy a probate bond. Even when a Will does not require the Executor to get a bond, a court can override its provision if it determines that a bond is necessary. Most courts do not require estate Executors to get a probate bond if the testator did not owe debts and the beneficiaries agree to waive the bond requirement. However, if there is outstanding debt or the deceased’s heirs do not agree to waive the bond requirement, bonding may be required.
How Does a Probate Bond Work?
If a decedent’s legal heir or beneficiary suspects that the personal representative is acting in a corrupt, deceitful or reckless manner, they need to petition the Probate court. If the court finds wrong-doing by the personal representative and Orders a Surcharge, the Surety will be required to pay out if the personal representative cannot or will not pay. The Surety company can simultaneously launch its own investigation to verify the person’s claim or hire its own attorney to dispute the claim. If the claim is found to be valid, the Surety company expects the bond owner to resolve it. If they fail to do so, the Surety company settles the claim on their behalf. They then look to the bondholder to reimburse all costs – the claim amount plus any legal expenses.
Different Types of Probate Bonds
- Administrator Bonds / Executor Bonds: These are purchased by estate Administrators or Executors. The purpose of an administrator bond is to ensure that the bondholder manages the estate ethically and in a responsible manner.
- Conservatorship Bonds: A court-appointed representative may be required to get a conservatorship bond. It guarantees that the person fulfills their legal duties.
- Trustee Bonds: A trustee bond is purchased by an estate trustee or someone else who is appointed by the testator to manage their assets. It ensures that the trustee handles the estate according to the testator’s wishes.
H.M. Vreeland is a trusted Surety bond company serving the state of California. Our ability to meet unique bonding needs of individuals and businesses sets us apart. With over 100 years of service, our team is surety bonding experts. To learn more, call (415) 566-3401.