If your loved one died either without a Will, or with a Will that fails to specify if bond is waived, the person nominated as Personal Representative (aka, Executor) will probably ask the other heirs to waive bond. (Click here to see a sample Waiver of Bond form.) Should you waive bond?
What is bond? Bond (in terms of a probate) is a type of fiduciary insurance policy that insures against the Personal Representative improperly administering the estate or stealing assets. In order to qualify for bond, the Personal Rep needs to either have good credit and a net worth that equals the value of the estate, or find someone who meets those qualifications to co-sign as a guarantor.
The main reason that a nominated Personal Representative will ask other family members to waive bond is the PR can’t qualify because he or she has bad credit or does not have a sufficient net worth. This is a bad sign. Do you want someone who the credit reporting agencies recognize as a bad money manager being in charge of your loved one’s estate? Probably not.
You don’t have to be nice. It’s okay to protect yourself. Require the PR to post bond. It will protect yourself in case the PR acts improperly. If you give in, and sign the Waiver of Bond form, it’s hard to unwind that. If the PR gains control of the estate and steals money or makes bad decisions, you won’t find out for at least six months to a year. By then, the money could be gone. Even if you then file a Petition to remove the Personal Representative and get a judgment against the PR for the missing money, do you really think you can collect against someone with few assets and poor credit? Good luck!
If you have any questions about what to do, reach out for help. Call a probate attorney at Magellan Law (at 602-443-4888) and ask for a free consultation. You may need to pay an attorney for a little time to assist you. But that will be money well spent.