Probate Bond

Surety Bonds for Probate Bonds

What are Probate Bonds?

Probate bonds (similar to an estate, executor or fiduciary bond) ensure that caretakers are able to ethically and honestly fulfill their court-appointed duties (particularly, those related to fund management) according to the court’s expectations. The terms “fiduciary bond” and “probate bond” are used interchangeably.  When a person dies and a will is left, the executor can purchase a probate bond to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out according to the will.

The probate process includes finding the will and delivering it to the probate court, organizing and appraising all the deceased’s property, paying any debts and taxes still owed, funeral arrangements and distributing the deceased’s property according to their will.

A probate bond simply ensures that everything listed above is carried out in an ethical and honest manner.  The applicant is usually a court-appointed executor, guardian or trustee and promises to comply with the law, terms of the will, trust or court order that stipulates the deceased’s wishes.  This, in turn, protects the estate and beneficiaries in the event that the executor does not comply with the terms listed and outlined in the probate bond.  If the executor fails to fulfill their moral and legal obligations, the beneficiaries will be compensated by the bond, and the surety will seek further compensation from the executor.

In some cases, the will or court will specify that the executor must acquire a probate bond.  On the other hand, some wills may specify that the executor will NOT be required to obtain a probate bond.  As with many surety bonds, a probate bond’s requirements differ from state to state.  This may become an issue, if for example, the deceased owned two properties in two different states.  Also, there is a difference between probate (i.e. property solely owned by the deceased) and nonprobate (property owned in conjunction with someone else).  The size of the estate may also determine how quick the probate process is completed.

FAQs

Are “fiduciary” and “probate” bonds used interchangeably?
Yes.

What are probate bonds used for?
To ensure that caretakers are able to ethically and honestly fulfill their court-appointed duties.

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