An Insurance Against Mistakes and Intentional Wrongdoing
A will allows an individual to bequeath assets, such as finances and possessions, to specific organizations, friends, or family members. While wills are meant to ensure that the wishes of an individual are carried out following death, the execution of the will is ultimately left up to the executor named in the will itself. The directives given in a will are carried out by the executor. Executors have many substantial responsibilities and they may sometimes make costly mistakes, particularly if they have never served in this role before. It’s also not unheard of for an executor to intentionally divert assets or defraud the beneficiaries. Because of these possibilities, the court may require the executor to obtain a probate bond. The probate bond serves as an insurance policy against mistakes and intentional acts of wrongdoing that result in financial losses. Although the process of obtaining a probate bond can be arduous, there are a few situations in which a lawyer may recommend getting one, including the following:
When Is a Probate Bond Needed?
While many wills or other legal circumstances can eliminate the need for a probate bond, there are several situations in which a bond is either necessary or provides important protection you’ll want to consider.
- In some cases, the will itself requires the executor to secure a probate bond before the will can be carried out.
- A court may require a probate bond before a large estate can be divided among the named inheritors to ensure this process proceeds smoothly.
- When an individual passes away and leaves unsecured debts, a probate bond is often needed to ensure these debts will be paid out of the estate in a proper and timely fashion.
- If all heirs named in the will do not agree that the probate bond process can be waived, the executor must secure a bond.
- When the individual probating the will is not the named executor of the will or there is no named executor, a bond may be required to protect the beneficiaries during the probate process.
- When the decedent leaves unsecured debts
- When the decedent’s estate is substantial
When a probate bond does not seem to be advisable, obtaining one will only add to the cost and duration of the probate process. Nevertheless, by working closely with a probate lawyer, families can be assured that the estate will be settled as expeditiously and smoothly as possible. Where a probate bond is indeed obtained, it can provide a convenient avenue by which heirs may file a claim for an executor’s alleged breach of fiduciary duties.
The Part Your Probate Lawyer Plays
Obtaining a probate bond is not a do-it-yourself task. Because there are many ways in which a bond application can be turned down or delayed, it’s essential to ensure you understand the application requirements and process, as well as any fees associated with the bond and the time expected between application for and issuance of the bond. Furthermore, the delays associated with issues obtaining a probate bond will also delay the division of the estate, which can lead to legal issues among the beneficiaries who might be concerned about their inheritance. The best way to ensure that the probate process proceeds smoothly and reduce your risk for being refused a probate bond is to work closely with your probate lawyer.
The Law Offices of Andrew J. Bolton, Esq. has extensive experience with all aspects of Texas probate law. Please give us a call at (936) 435-1908 for the professional assistance you need obtaining a probate bond.
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