An update on probate bonds

Update on Bonds for Court

Our last post was on probate bonds, which led to several questions around the office. So, here are some answers to those questions that we received.

1) Are probate bonds necessary for all cases?

Bonds are required, by statute, in all states for court cases involving probate assets.  However, those requirements can be waived.  The easiest way to get this requirement waived is to have it waived in the Will that is filed with the court.  Further, you can also get the requirement waived if ALL of the beneficiaries agree to waive the requirement.  In most intestate situations, this is the only method available.  If the parties do not get along or if there is one party that is not cooperating, then a bond will have to be filed with the court.  In our experience, about half of all intestate estates will require a probate bond.

2) Are there many bond brokers?

Yes, there are TONS of these guys.  Call your local bar association to find one that is recommended if you cannot find one through the Internet.  Just make sure that these are “bail bond” brokers.

3) What is the cost?

The costs seems to run around $500-1,000 for most estates.  Obviously, large estates are much more expensive.  For most bonds, there is a sliding scale based upon the total amount of the assets within the estate.  The rate on the sliding scale goes down as the amount goes up, but obviously the total cost goes up.
This is why most attorneys recommend to get the bond waived by having a will (or trust).

4) Are all court bonds the same?

Nope.  They are all different.  There are probate bonds (see the article below) as well as other bonds for appellate needs (that is, you lost a case and decided to appeal it) as well as other specialty bonds.

Conclusion

I hope that this helps in understanding some of the ins and outs with regard to probate bonds.  They are necessary, unless you get that requirement waived in the will.  Thanks.