The property left by a deceased person is referred to as an estate. Often, the person who dies may have left a last will and testament and appoints an executor to handle the administration of last will and testament. The executor will oversee the distribution of the property and assets to the heirs of the estate as per the specifications in the will.
On the contrary, if a person dies without leaving a will or testament, the courts will appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of the property. In order to protect the interests of the heirs and insure them against any possible mismanagement or fraud by the executor, law stipulates that the executor or administrator shall post a probate bond. The process by which a will is filed with the court is called probate. Probate bonds are required for the estate of deceased persons, minors, and incompetent persons and are filed in a probate court.
Where there is an executor, the bond is referred to as a probate bond. Probate bonds are also known as estate Bonds or fiduciary Bonds. In the case of bond posted by a court-appointed administrator, the bond is called an administrator’s bond. Conservator bonds, guardian bonds and trustee bonds are other types of bonds often considered as probate bonds when used in connection with the probate of an estate.
The executor will distribute the property according to the wishes of the deceased as stipulated in the will and the administrator will distribute the assets in accordance with the specific laws of the jurisdiction. A probate bond provides protection against misrepresentation, fraudulent acts, errors, negligence and theft by the executor or administrator of the estate until the the property has been distributed to the heirs of the estate.
The probate bond must be for a specified sum which may be indicated in the will and in the absence of such a stipulation, the court will specify the amount of the bond. If there is no will and an administrator is appointed, the court will then indicate the amount of the probate bond. This amount varies in each state and the court has discretion to fix the bond amount.