It is a common misconception that bonds are not needed in personal representation of the estate of another. Even if a will does not specify a probate bond, the Texas court may rule that you need to complete a bond.
A bond represents an agreement similar to a promissory note. In the legal world, it translates into protection of estate funds. The courts prefer it when there is a written commitment of one’s fiduciary duty regarding the estate of another. A court-appointed authority makes a judge uneasy, as there is little control over the actions of another. Even legal representatives have been known to act inappropriately, so the presence of a bond implies protection.
A bond represents an arrangement in which a borrower’s obligations are clearly delineated, and therefore, calls for better and more effective accountability. It allows for what happens if the personal representative violates their fiduciary duties.
The courts may ask for an added layer of security by requiring a bond with sureties. This requires the personal representative to exert extra care in the reliability of his or her performance. While a judge may feel safer by an added obligation of protection, there may also be increased access to other resources in case a recovery is required. Sureties, in this case, act like a co-signer, who takes on the debt should it default.
In cases like this, a corporation can provide services on a bond for a charge. Additional individuals with considerable assets can also cover the estate’s value, thus representing sureties for a bond. Both instances vouch for a personal choice of a representative and take on the added accountability for their performance.
In some cases, relatives or family members leave wills attempting to gloss over the necessity of a bond. However, the next best option is to obtain a waiver of a bond’s sureties.
Real estate law, bonds, wills, estate administration and probate issues in the state of Texas are complex matters, not for the faint of heart. Especially when emotions and family enter the mix, you need the trusted services of legal professional who will participate actively in protecting your best interests and those of your family. Do not wait until the court steps in to make an unsavory ruling. Make sure your will and probate plans are ironclad for you and your family to avoid problems later.
Source:The Lowell Sun, “Probate bond is always needed” James Haroutunian, May. 30, 2014