What are the three types of probate bonds?

Death, as the old adage goes, is inevitable. When a person dies, that person is likely to leave a legacy behind, usually in the form of money, property or assets. Here in Norman, Oklahoma, local residents have heard many stories about families that fight over an estate. These often result in fractured family relationships as each person involved seeks their fair share of the estate. Nowadays, people are beginning to understand the importance of estate planning -- especially, how it can ensure beneficiaries or heirs will receive their fair share of the estate.

A person can appoint a guardian in a will, if there are children involved; an executor will distribute property and assets upon death and trustees will manage trusts in estate planning. Each person has a role to play, and to ensure that those appointed people perform their duties, they are often required to purchase probate bonds -- guardianship probate bonds, executor probate bonds and testamentary trustee bonds.

A guardianship bond or guardian bond ensures that the guardian will make sound decisions for the benefit of the child. The guardian should make an honest accounting of the inheritance of the child. An executor probate bond, on the other hand, ensures that the executor of the estate carries out the wishes of the person who has passed on, especially when it comes to the distribution of property. The executor must pay off any debts to creditors, distribute assets to beneficiaries and pay estate and probate taxes.

Finally, a testamentary trustee bond ensures that the trustee will handle the financial affairs of the trust properly. The trustee can make decisions about how to handle property and assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The bond ensures that the trustee will follow what is in the agreement.

Probate bonds are often required by court before the administration of the trust or the estate can be carried out. However, the owner of the will can waive the requirement of probate bonds when the will is being written.

Source: Financial Web, "Types of probate bonds," accessed on Jan. 28, 2015

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