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California Probate Bond

Proving the validity of a will and distributing a person's assets after their death can be complex and time-consuming. Typically, the greater the individual's assets, the more complicated the probate process becomes. Unfortunately, within this complexity, there is room for incompetence and unethical practices to burn through the assets, leaving beneficiaries empty-handed. So states' probate court systems require probate bonds. These surety bonds guarantee that the will's executor will follow all appropriate laws, regulations, and ethical standards throughout the probate process. In the Golden State, these bonds are called California probate bonds.

What is a California Probate Bond?

A California probate bond is a type of surety bond that guarantees that the person in charge of distributing assets upon someone's death will do so capably and ethically, in full compliance with all applicable laws. The bond provides a financial incentive for the will's executor or the estate's administrator to perform their duties lawfully and well. Further, it creates a mechanism that forces the bonded agent to compensate anyone harmed if the agent violates their duties.

A probate bond in California is a risk-management tool that probate court judges use to protect beneficiaries from potential fraud committed by the executor of a will or trust.

How Does a California Probate Bond Work?

Like any surety bond, a California probate bond is a legal contract entered into by three essential parties:

  • The Principal is the bonded party. In this case, it is the executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian who is required to acquire a surety bond.
  • The Obligee is the party that requires the bond, in this case, the California probate court system.
  • The Surety is the insurance company that underwrites the surety bond.

If a beneficiary believes the executor of a will has committed fraud, they can file a claim against the probate bond. The surety will thoroughly investigate all claims. If the surety finds in favor of the beneficiary, they will pay the claim in full up to the value of the bond. However, the surety will dismiss any claim that lacks merit. The principal is financially responsible for all claims paid and must reimburse the surety.

Who Needs a California Probate Bond?

With a few exceptions, the personal representative of a California estate must have a California probate bond. Estate administrators pay for the bond using funds from the estate. The probate court adjudicates exceptions to the requirement for a probate bond. When two or more people represent a single estate, the judge may require each representative to be bonded or may decide they can get a joint and several bond.

How Much Does a Probate Bond Cost in California?

Like any surety bond cost, the cost of a probate bond in California is a tiny fraction of the bond value. The typical rate for a probate bond is 0.5% to 1% of the required bond amount. So, for an estate worth $20,000, the premium would be between $100 and $160. The principal's credit rating determines whether they pay at the lower or higher end of the premium range.

How Can I Get a California Probate Bond?

At Viking Bond Service, it is simple to obtain a surety bond. Please complete our straightforward online bond application, and we'll get you a competitive quote ASAP. You're welcome to call us at 1-888-2-SURETY (1-888-278-7389) or contact us online with any questions.

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