An administrator bond (or administratrix bond) is a "fiduciary" surety obligation. A "fiduciary" for the purposes of probate matters simply means a financially responsible person. An administrator's duty is to inventory, value and distribute the assets of an estate in an honest and diligent manner. A fiduciary's actions must be in accordance with the pevailing probate cod, orders issued by the probate court holding jurisdiction over the estate and with the terms of a will, if one exists. An administrator bond can be referred to by different names. All are essentially the same obligation.
When a will clearly states how a deceased's assets are to be distributed, an administrator bond may not be required. When a person dies without a will then the decedent's estate is considered "intestate". Approximately fifty years ago, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws promulgated the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). Those venues that adhere to the UPC guidelines may waive the probate bond requirement. Only sixteen states have accepted the UPC treatment in its entirety.
An administrator bond guarantees the performance of specific fiduciary duties. The administrator or administratrix must identify all heirs and creditors, collect the deceased's assets and appraise them, pay all debts of the deceased, then distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. Liquidation of assets in order to pay debts is often necessary. The surety bond further guarantees that the administator will identify investment or retirement accounts which are beneficiaried to the deceased but not necessarily owned by the deceased. Those assets must go through the probate process before being distrubuted as well. While performing these duties the administrator has an affirmative duty to make sure that estate assets will not be damaged or misappropriated. In legal terms, the bond of an administrator protects the estate from the misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance of the fiduciary.
An administrator bond is not generally considered a high loss class of surety bond business. A surety company will consider the applicant's credit. The assumption is that an applicant that has a history of problems managing his or her own finances may not be an appropriate person to manage the estate's finances. Surety companies also require the participation of an attorney that specializes in probate, conservatorship or miscellaneous fiduciary matters. Unless the administrator bond applicant is an attorney or professional fiduciary, navigating the probate codes and staying within local rules can present a challenge. Administrator bond underwriters will also consider conflicts between the heirs, the applicant's indebtedness to the estate and ongoing business(es) of the deceased, all of which are "red flags" of increased risk. A typical administrator bond request submitted to a surety agent will contain the following:
If you need to identify an attorney with probate experience we recommend Martindale.
Underwriting of administrator bonds requires review by a surety specialist with knowledge about probate law in the jurisdiction where the bond will be filed and experience with fiduciary obligations generally. Surety bond leader, Surety One, Inc., specializes in fiduciary bonds. We offer probate bonds in all fifty states, Puerto Rico, Canada and U.S. Virgin Islands. Application submissions are reviewed and quoted on the same day as they are received. We are the MOST RESPONSIVE surety bond underwriter in the business. Call (800) 373-2804, email us at Underwriting@SuretyOne.com or chat with us live here for a bond of an administrator or any fiduciary bond need.
Surety bond application review and quoting are free of charge. There is no obligation to purchase.