Probate is the legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of an estate to the beneficiaries or heirs. Probate Bonds are required by most states during the probate process as estates and assets of deceased persons, incompetent persons, and minors are set up and administered. If there is a valid last will and testament, an executor may be appointed, otherwise the judge appoints an administrator. Probate bonds are also referred to as Fiduciary Bonds, Executor Bonds, Guardian Bonds and Estate Bonds, Special Needs Trust Bonds, and VA Bonds.
The Probate Bond protects beneficiaries by guaranteeing the performance of a fiduciary is honest and protects the estate from negligence or loss. Ultimately, a probate bond or fiduciary bond provides assurance that the executor of an estate will distribute assets and property of the estate according to the will of the deceased or, in accordance with the laws and preserve all assets of the estate.
American Surety Bonds Agency is your source for all types of Probate Surety Bonds. With over 30 years of experience, our trained agents are prepared to guiding you through the necessary steps to qualify for a Probate Bond. We make the bonding process simple, fast and hassle free! Apply
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Probate bonds are a type of court bonds in which a judge may appoint an individual to post as a way to ensure or guarantee that the fiduciary will fulfill their duties according to the state probate and estate laws. An executor is a person appointed by the courts to handle the administration of a last will and testament, including all property and asset distributions. There are standard probate bonds and there are also more specific types of probate bonds including:
- Guardian Bonds
- Conservator Bonds
- Administrator Bonds
- Executor Bonds
- VA Bond
- Special Needs Trust Bond
A judge often mandates a Conservator Bond or Guardian Bond to protect a minor or an incapacitated adult from misconduct of an appointed conservator or guardian. A conservator or guardian is a person or official appointed by a judge to handle the general welfare and assets of a person who is incapable of doing so because of their age or mental capacity. Conservators are responsible for managing the person’s entire financial estate, but do not have authority over health and personal care. Conservatorships are created by the court to protect incapacitated adults either as a conservator if the person or as the conservator of the estate. Guardians make decisions regarding an individual’s personal care including medical or other professional treatment, living situation and personal needs. Guardians also are appointed to manage the financial affairs of minors. In the case that a judge is not confident that a family member is capable of fulfilling the obligations of the court, a county guardian will be appointed to handle the estate.
An Administrator or Executor Bond, also known as Estate Bond, is required to protect the estate against fraud or negligence. When a person passes away they may or may not have left a final will and testament. If the deceased has not left a will, the court will appoint an administrator or administratrix in charge of the estate and a judge will require them to post an administrators bond. An executor or executrix is the person whom the decedent named in the will to manage the estate. The executor may also be mandated to post an executor bond. Both the Administrator and Executor have similar responsibilities. Administrators and Executors are fiduciaries. It is the fiduciaries responsibility to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, appraise the estate, pay off all debts and back paid taxes, and disperses the assets. The purpose of an administrators bond and executor bond is meant to protect the deceased and beneficiaries from fraud.
The Department of Veteran Affairs requires a Veterans Affairs bond, also known as a Veteran Administrators Bond, Veteran Affairs Custodian Bond, and VA Custodian Surety Bond to ensure against mismanagement or abuse. The program was developed for veterans who are injured or unable to manage their assets. The VA appoints an individual known as a fiduciary, to uphold the estate of the Veteran and are held liable for the estate.
A special needs trust (SNT) is a trust that preserves the eligibility of a physically or mentally disabled or chronically ill person to receive government benefits such as Medicaid or Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. The appointed guardian is required to post a Special Needs Trust Bond as a form of insurance that the guardian will act in the best interest of the beneficiary. The Special Needs Trust Bond protects the disabled person and the assets from fraud or any unethical actions. This type of surety bond is similar to a guardianship bond.
How Do Probate Bonds Work?
Depending on the state, Estate Bonds are required by a court at the judge’s discretion. If a fiduciary or executor does not mange the estate according to the will or court orders, a claim can be filed on the bond to ensure the heirs receive the items outlined in the will. The surety company will pay the claim initially, but will come back to the fiduciary or executor for reimbursement.
What are the underwriting guidelines?
Our surety bonding professionals have the resources available to get started today. Let our team of experienced agents provide you with the Probate Bond you need. Estate Bonds are underwritten on the following criteria:
- Applicant’s Credit History
- Relationship with the Ward
- Going Concern
- Litigation Among Heirs or Creditors
How much does the bond cost?
The bond cost is dependent on the value of assets and estate. American Surety Bonds has several programs in place for all Probate Bonds starting as low as $95. Typically the cost of an Estate Bond is a percentage of the surety bond amount. Our experts aim to provide you with the lowest premium and exceptional service. Submit your application today to see what program is available in your state.
How do I apply for a Probate Bond?
To apply for a Probate Bond, simply complete the bond application. Download our application and e-mail, fax or mail your application back to us to get started. Or, give us a call and we will be happy to get you started.
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Who can I contact for more information?
MM, Senior Underwriter