A probate bond (also known as a fiduciary bond or estate bond) is a type of court bond often required by probate courts. Probate bonds must be obtained by individuals who have been appointed to act on behalf of others, such as to take care of their property or finances after their death.
This is done to guarantee that executors or administrators, as the case may be, perform their responsibilities in an honest and faithful manner without taking advantage of their appointment. In some cases, the Texas Estates Code requires the Court to order a bond.
In cases of fraud or embezzlement, for example, the probate bond is meant to reimburse those affected. If, for example, an administrator fails to properly distribute assets during probate and instead takes the assets for themselves, a claim can be filed in order to reimburse heirs and beneficiaries for the amount they are entitled to. In this regard, a probate bond is similar to an insurance policy for the deceased’s assets until the probate process is completed.
What Are Some Examples of Probate Bonds?
There are a number of bond options which exist that may be applicable to an applicant depending on the will itself, the status of heirs and beneficiaries and whether or not the court orders a bond to be made:
Probate Bonds for a Decedent’s Estate
An administrator’s bond, , covers whoever is appointed to oversee the probate process for a deceased individual. This individual will be in charge of all assets and personal property that make up an individual’s estate and as a result, they are liable to claims of fraud or mismanagement. This bond will ensure all valid claims of this nature will be covered.
An executor bond, , refers to an individual appointed to carry out the probate process. The executor is named by the deceased in his or her Will The executor bond will cover any valid claims of fraud or mismanagement of an estate made against the individual. An Executor who is named by the Decedent in his or her Will to serve independently of Court scrutiny will usually not have to post a bond. However, if the individual is appointed by the Court as a Dependent Administrator, a bond is required.
Contact an Experienced Texas Probate Attorney
The probate period can be a stressful and chaotic experience for both the executor of the estate and the family of the deceased to handle. Hidden assets may crop up after the probate period has ended, which can result in additional complications months (or even years) after the estate has been divided.
Forbes and Forbes is dedicated to ensuring that regardless of your circumstances, we will help you see it through with as little complication as possible. To ensure the best possible outcome while navigating the probate process, contact an attorney experienced in probate law to help you through this sometimes stressful life event.
We’ve also put together a comprehensive Texas probate law guide that should answer many of the questions you may have.