If I serve as personal representative, will I have to pay a bond?

Not necessarily.  While the law does require that the person acting as personal representative of the estate put down a bond, there are several exceptions to this rule.  The purpose of the bond is to provide some security for the interests of the heirs or devisees in the case of mishandling of the affairs of the estate by the personal representative.  If there does not seem to be a risk of loss of property of the estate due to the administration, it is likely the bond will be waived.

If there is a Will, it is common for the decedent to have included a provision that expressly waives the bond requirement.  Even if there is no such express provision in the Will, the bond can still be waived if all of the devisees under the will file a written waiver of the bond requirement and file it with the court. If there is no Will, the bond requirement can still be waived.  In this case, all of the legal heirs of the decedent must sign and file a written waiver with the court.

There are also instances where the bond can be waived automatically.  For example, if the personal representative is an entity such as a bank, a trust company, or a title insurance company, no bond is required as these entities will have the necessary insurance to cover any damages to the estate or the heirs cause by mishandling.  Another situation in which the bond may be waived is where the estate has a very low value and the surviving spouse or someone they nominated is serving as personal representative.  If this information is included in the application for appointment, then bond may be waived.

However, there are also rules that allow the imposition of a bond requirement even where it has been waived.  If any heir, devisee, or creditor can provide reasonable proof that their interest in the estate is in danger of being lost due to the personal representative’s administration of the estate, they may petition the court to impose a bond to protect their interests.

When determining what the requirements are for your particular probate, consult with a competent Tucson probate attorney before making any decisions.


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