If you are being appointed to undertake a task in a probate court, you likely will need a surety bond for probate court. For example, if you are going to be the administrator of an estate, you will need to obtain a surety bond before the probate court will give you authority to act. The surety bond is a form of insurance that protects the subject of the probate proceedings (the estate, the conservatee, the trust), if you commit an act of misfeasance or malfeasance related to your service.
Identify those companies that do provide surety bonds for probate matters. Not all bonding companies provide surety bonds to be used in probate court. The clerk of the probate court or the judge can provide you guidance in this regard so that you will be able to more readily identify the appropriate bonding companies.
Apply for the surety bond itself. As part of the application process, you present the agent with a copy of the order appointing you to a fiduciary position and requiring you to obtain a bond. You also need to provide a state-issued identification card. The application process is simple and can take place in an agent's office.
Participate in and cooperate with the underwriting process. There is a rather basic underwriting process associated with your probate surety bond application. You need to have no felonies on your record nor any convictions for any other type of crime involving dishonesty. You cannot have been denied a surety bond previously. Otherwise, you should experience no problems during underwriting. Be sure to provide all information requested in a timely manner.
Pay the premium for the probate surety bond. Although you have been approved for the bond, it does not take effect until the premium is paid. In probate matters, normally the estate, trust or conservatorship that is the subject of the proceedings is responsible for reimbursing you the cost of the surety bond.
File promptly the certificate of the surety bond with the probate court. Evidence of the surety bond will come in the form of a certificate that must be part of the records of the court. Make an extra copy of the certificate for your records. Have the clerk of the court "file stamp" your copy as well so that you personally will have proof you filed the document with the court.
- If you are going to be involved in a particular probate matter for a more extended period of time, make certain the surety bond remains in effect. Many surety bonds have termination and renewal dates. If you fail to timely renew a surety bond, you can end up in noncompliance with or even in contempt of the probate court. You can face personal sanctions by the court, including being held in contempt or fined for your failure to keep the surety bond current.
- If you encounter any issues or problems obtaining a surety bond, you need to contact the court immediately.