An executor bond is a fiduciary or "probate" bond. Black's defines an executor as, "Black's Law Dictionary defines executor as “a person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in their will, and to dispose of the property according to their testamentary provisions after his death". An executor therefore acts as a ”fiduciary" with regards to the estate assets. An executor's duty is generally to inventory, appraise and distribute the assets of the deceased in accordance with the pevailing statutes and any orders issued by the probate court holding jurisdiction over the estate. An executor bond can be referred to by different names. All are essentially the same obligation.
Where a will exists which clearly states how estate assets are to be distributed, an executor bond my not be required by law. If an individual dies without a will the decedent's estate is considered "intestate". In 1969, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws set forth a Uniform Probate Code (UPC). The jurisdictions that adhere to the UPC may waive the probate bond requirement. Only sixteen states have accepted the UPC in its entirety.
An executor bond guarantees the performance of specific fiduciary duties. The executor or executrix must identify all heirs and creditors, marshall t the deceased's assets and appraise them, pay all debts and taxes owed by the deceased, then distribute the remaining assets to known heirs. Liquidation of assets to raise money for the payment of debts is often necessary. The surety bond guarantees that the executor will identify investment or retirement accounts which are beneficiaried to the deceased, which likewise go through the probate process before distribution. While performing these duties the probate fiduciary has the utmost duty to make ensure that estate assets will not lose value or be misappropriated. In legal terms, the surety bond of an executor protects the estate from the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of the fiduciary.
An executror bond is not generally considered a high loss class of surety bond. Surety underwriters will review the executort's credit, the assumption being that an applicant that has a history of problems managing his or her own finances may present a serious risk to the deceased's assets. Surety companies also require the participation of an attorney that specializes in probate, conservatorship or miscellaneous probate matters. Unless the executor bond applicant is an attorney or professional fiduciary the risk of navigating the probate laws and staying within the court's rules can present a significant challenge. Probate bond underwriters will also consider conflicts between the heirs, any applicant indebtedness to the estate and ongoing businesses of the deceased as enhancements of risk. A typical executor 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 executor or executrix 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 probate bonds. We offer these surety 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 executor or any probate bond need.
Surety bond application review and quoting are free of charge. There is no obligation to purchase.