What Is an Administration Bond?
An administration bond is a bond that is posted on behalf of an administrator of an estate to provide assurance that they will conduct their duties according to the provisions of the will and/or the legal requirements of the jurisdiction. The bond covers any financial losses to the estate due to dishonest or improper acts by the administrator.
How an Administration Bond Works
An administrator is appointed to handle the estates of individuals who died without a valid will or who had a will but not an executor. An administrator is also appointed by a probate court to oversee the deceased’s estate if the principal executor dies, has been removed from the role, or has declined to serve.
The administrator is tasked with paying bills to creditors and outstanding tax liabilities to the government and distributing the assets of the estate to beneficiaries who are deemed entitled under the law. To ensure that these agents do not mismanage the estate, the court requires an administration bond.
Surety Companies and Bonds
An administration bond is obtained by an appointed administrator from a surety company. The surety runs background and credit checks on the applicant before approving the bond which is presented to the court. The bond provides assurance that the estate will be handled ethically and legally, and assets will be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. The bond, then, protects creditors and beneficiaries, not the administrator, from any negligent, fraudulent, or erroneous acts of the appointed agent.
If it is found that the administrator did not follow the wishes of the deceased or act in accordance with the law, a claim may be filed against the administration bond. The surety company will compensate the individual(s) that filed the claim if it turns out to be valid. The administrator must repay the surety for any funds disbursed to the claimant(s). In cases in which the administrator defaults or declares bankruptcy, then the surety is responsible for compensating the project owner for any financial loss.
The total bond amount is based on the total value of the estate. The cost or premium paid for an administration bond is determined by the personal credit of the administrator. The bond is not always required by the probate court, however. If a financial institution is appointed as the administrator of an estate, then an administration bond is not required. Also, if there is a valid will or other estate planning document in place which states to not have a bond, an administration bond will not be requested.