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What does “bond” mean in probate court?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | probate litigation |

When a testator dies, the executor will take the will to probate. The probate court will follow certain procedures to confirm that the will and any other related documents are valid before officially appointing the executor. However, they may need to buy a probate bond for this to happen.

This guide provides in-depth information about this bond:

What is probate?

A probate bond is a type of bond that guarantees the executor will fulfill their duties and will comply with state laws. Three parties are involved in this bond. They include:  

  • The principal – the party required to get a bond 
  • The probate court – the party that requires the principal (executor) to get a bond 
  • The surety – the party that sells the bond to the principal and will reimburse it if they fulfill their obligations.

A probate bond protects beneficiaries should the executor act against their interests.

Can someone be denied a bond?

The surety will consider different factors before selling a probate bond to an executor. This means that one may not secure a bond. For instance, if the surety discovers the executor was convicted of a felony or is financially unstable, perhaps they declared bankruptcy, they may refuse to sell them the bond. Without a surety bond, an executor cannot resume their duties.

In such an instance, the court will appoint another person, included in the will, to be an executor or can distribute the estate according to their criteria. 

Do all executors require a probate bond?

The probate court requires executors to have a bond to protect the beneficiaries unless stated otherwise in the will. Even when it’s not required, it’s vital for an executor to buy one.

If you are an executor looking to buy a probate, you should learn more about your legal options to make informed decisions.