Although many Georgia residents are familiar with surety bonds, it is likely that fewer have heard of probate bonds. A probate bond is a type of surety bond that guarantees that the executor of a deceased person’s estate will act according to state laws. If the executor doesn’t comply or acts in a way that violates the will or harms the beneficiaries,, stakeholders can file a claim against the bond.
How probate bonds work
Estate administrators are responsible for purchasing probate bonds. The surety sells the bond to the executor or administrator of the estate. If one or more obligees, or heirs, to the estate, feel that the executor hasn’t carried out their duties properly, the obligees can file a claim with the surety who reimburses the individuals making a claim.
A deceased person’s will generally must go through probate so the property is distributed correctly. The process involves:
- Locating the will
- Assembling property and having it appraised
- Paying any outstanding debts
- Paying property and estate taxes
- Distributing remaining assets among heirs
Although not required, most estate administrators should purchase a probate bond. Buying one shows good faith to the estate’s heirs. Most courts will not order the purchase of a probate bond if no debts require payment.
The challenges of navigating probate
The probate process can be confusing, not to mention time-consuming. Getting guidance through probate proceedings can help ensure executors follow all pertinent laws. Executors must complete all paperwork correctly and submit it according to the stated deadlines.