A probate bond, also known as an “executor bond” or “fiduciary bond,” is a type of insurance that is required for certain individuals involved in the probate process, including executors or personal representatives.
Florida, like many other states, mandates probate bonds to ensure that the executor acts in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. While it may seem like an extra layer of bureaucracy, it serves as a crucial safeguard against potential misconduct by the executor. The bond guarantees that if the executor breaches their fiduciary duties, the beneficiaries have a means to recover their losses.
How can a probate bond affect your choice of executor?
The requirement of probate bonds should influence your choice of executor in several ways:
1. You need someone who is financially stable
Your chosen executor must be financially stable and have a good credit history. Someone with a tattered financial history and poor credit may have a hard time getting an affordable bond – or getting one at all.
2. You need someone who can afford the cost
The bond amount is generally set by the court according to the value of the estate and the creditworthiness of the executor. Probate bonds can be costly. Even though the cost of the bond is reimbursable out of the estate in the end, the executor will need to pay for it out of their own pocket at the beginning.
3. You need a backup executor (just in case)
There are numerous reasons that someone might be disqualified from being the executor of an estate – including a felony record. If your preferred executor is unable to serve or unwilling to take on the risks and responsibilities of the job, you need a backup.
Putting your estate plans together can be difficult, and it isn’t something you should try to do alone. Experienced legal guidance can make it easier.