A probate bond is designed to protect the estate in California in case the personal representative mismanages the estate or steals any of the estate’s assets.
A Will that waives the bond requirement is often effective at avoiding having to obtain a bond. Another way to avoid buying a bond is for all the heirs agree to waive the bond. However, the court may still require that the personal representative be bonded if that person resides outside California even when all of the heirs agree to waive it.
This means that to probate an estate without a Will or Trust waiving the bond requirement, the personal representative will have to apply for a probate bond to be sure the value of the estate is protected. For example, if the estate is worth a million dollars – which could include a personal residence in California along with cash assets – bond premiums could run approximately $2,000 for every year the estate is opened. The first year’s premium is not refundable if the estate closes within a year.
The executor or personal representative for the estate must qualify for a bond. Qualification depends on the executor’s personal net worth and credit worthiness. Some personal representatives won’t qualify and the bond company will require that their attorney maintain control over the estate account in some agreeable fashion with the bond company.
To avoid probate in California and avoid the expense of buying a bond, consult with a qualified probate attorney.