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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/12-14: Bond on Appeal

When someone passes away, his or her estate must be settled and assets transferred to others. Before the transfer of assets can occur, the representative, also referred to as the executor or estate administrator must take care of all of the tasks required to settled the estate. If the decedent left a will typically the decedent would have named as executor who he or she wanted to perform the estate administration tasks. If there is not a will, someone tied to the estate can petition the court to become estate administrator. Before either an executor or estate administrator has the legal authority to perform the tasks related to administering the estate, the Illinois Probate Court must approve the person and issue that person a legal document referred to as “Letters.” To learn more about the Probate Court’s procedures and requirements, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 12-14- Bond on appeal, contact an experienced Chicago Probate Court attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Bond

A bond is an insurance policy that representatives must carry to protect estates, beneficiaries, and heirs from negligent or illegal acts by the representatives. As with any insurance policy, the insured—the representative, executor, or administrator—must pay a premium to maintain the policy. To understand why Illinois and other jurisdictions require bonds, it is necessary to understand the role the representative plays in estate administration.

  • Controls estate assets. One of the primary jobs of a representative is to take control of the assets of the administrator. The representative will have access to the money in the decedent’s bank account. He (or she) will also have the authority to open accounts in the name of the estate. In other words, the representative will have practically the same access and control of the decedent’s estate as the decedent did while alive. As a Chicago Probate Court lawyer will explain, if the representative is negligent in the manner in which he or she manages the estate, or if the representative decides to take property from the estate, the estate’s finances may suffer irreparable harm, resulting in fewer assets to pay creditors and distribute to beneficiaries or heirs. For example, after receiving letters of administration to manage the estate of a loved the one, the representative made very poor decisions related to managing the decedent’s investments. As a result, the decedent’s estate suffered significant losses.
  • Pay estate bills. The representative must pay bills owed by the decedent at the time of his death, as well as bills accumulated by the estate during the administration process. In doing so the representative must pay only valid debts, and must pay all valid claims that are timely filed before distributing assets. Failure to do so may result in a creditor not being paid and liability to the estate
  • Distribution of assets. The representative is responsible for disbursing estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries and heirs based on the will and Illinois law. Mistakes in asset distribution may cause financial damage to the estate. For example, if the representative distributes assets without paying creditors, the creditors will suffer financial damage. Or, if the representative distributes assets to the wrong beneficiary, the estate may be liable to the beneficiary who did not receive the distribution.

Because there are so many opportunities for the representative to make mistakes or engage in other activities that would diminish the value of the estate, the law requires the representative to purchase a bond and pay the premiums. If the representative does something that causes a loss to the estate, the surety company will cover the losses suffered by the beneficiaries, heirs, or creditors.

Amount of Bond

There are statutory rules related to the amount of bond required. They are based on the value of the estate and the type of surety.

  • Individual surety : If an individual issues the bond, the bond will be at least 2 times the value of the personal property in the estate
  • Surety company: If a surety company issues the bond, the bond will be at least 1.5 times the value of the personal property in the estate.

The rules state the minimum amount of bond the court must require, however, for a variety of reasons the court can require more. While the amount of the bond that the court requires is set prior to when the representative begins administration, the judge can increase or decrease it based on circumstances that develop during the court of administration. For more details as to when the court may approve a change in the bond, contact an experienced Probate Court lawyer in Chicago.

Additional Rules Related to Bonds

In addition to the amount of bond, there are several other rules related to bonds. For example, on the suit on bond rules, a suit on a bond may be prosecuted against one or more of the obligors named in the bond contract. Suits may be prosecuted until the whole penalty is recovered. A copy of the bond is admissible as evidence of the bond. The person for whose use suit on a bond is prosecuted is liable for all costs which may be taxed by the court in which suit is brought if the plaintiff fails to recover thereon. In addition, under Illinois Probate Act, section 12-14- Bond on appeal, a bond of a representative on appeal from the order or judgment of any court must be in the form prescribed by law in other civil cases.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Notice to representative of action on bond - answer : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-12
  2. New or additional bond: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-13
  3. Suit on bond: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-15
Illinois Probate Act, Section 12-14- Bond on Appeal

A bond of a representative on appeal from the order or judgment of any court must be in the form prescribed by law in other civil cases, except that the bond of a representative of a decedent's estate must be conditioned to pay the judgment with costs in due course of administration and the bond of a representative of a ward's estate must be conditioned to pay the judgment with costs as he has funds therefor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The bond requirement is there to protect the estate from carelessness or illegal acts on the part of the representative. There are many rules related to the bond, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, 12-14- Bond on appeal. If you have questions or concerns related to the bond requirement or any other requirements related to the estate administration process, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced Probate Court attorney serving Chicago. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 2 decades of experience representing clients in estate matters, including matters related to representatives and details of administration. Contact an attorney in our office attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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