Those acting as an executor or an administrator of an estate in Florida have many different roles when distributing assets of a deceased person. One of those tasks may involve buying a probate bond as a show of good faith to estate beneficiaries.
What is a probate bond?
A probate bond is a type of surety bond issued to ensure an estate executor will act according to state law and the terms of the will and trusts that the deceased person has created. If the administrator violates any of the terms, family members and other heirs can file a claim against the bond. If a probate court deems the claim valid, the surety company will reimburse plaintiffs according to the terms of the bond.
Probate bonds have four main types:
- Personal representative
Select the bond that most closely matches your role in settling someone’s estate. Buying a probate bond is only required if a will or trust specifically requires it. However, it represents a show of good faith. Most courts will not require a probate bond if there are no outstanding debts and the heirs of the estate agree to waive the bond purchase.
Settling an estate according to the deceased’s wishes
Estate administration can be challenging, especially for individuals who have never gone through the process. The process generally takes up to a year and sometimes longer if an administrator cannot find all the beneficiaries or if the estate is large. Filing the necessary paperwork can also be time-consuming.
In addition to locating the deceased’s will and all property, an executor must have the property appraised, pay all debts and estate and income taxes, and settle funeral expenses. In this role, you must also appear in probate court and distribute the remaining assets to heirs.