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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/12-15: Suit on Bond

Under Illinois law, a representative is the name of a person who has the court appointed job of caring for another person or for the property of an estate. A representative can be an executor, estate administrator, or a guardian. A representative has a fiduciary relationship with the beneficiaries, heirs, or wards who have an ownership interest in the property. Because a representative is responsible for the property of others, in order to protect the interests of the beneficiaries, heirs, or wards in the property, the law requires that representative purchase insurance called a bond, in case the value of the property is damaged due to the negligent or illegal actions of the representative. To learn more about the Probate Court’s procedures and requirements related to bonds, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 12-15- Suit on bond, contact an experienced Chicago Probate Court attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Bond

A surety bond is basically a contract between three parties: the principal (the representative, the obligees (the estate, beneficiaries, heirs, creditors), and the surety (the entity that guarantees the performance of the principal). If the principal fails to perform the obligation, the surety pays the obligee.

As a Chicago Probate Court attorney will explain, the reason that representatives are required to have a bond is that as part of their administration responsibilities they have almost unfettered access to estate property, including cash, investments, and personal property. As a result there is a risk that either by negligence, ignorance, or intention, the representative could cause the estate to suffer a financial loss.

Example

Joe was appointed representative of the estate of Jim, his deceased brother. During the administration process, Joe failed to file accountings with the Illinois Probate Court, and failed to distribute estate assets in a timely fashion. As a result of these negligent acts, the Probate Court felt compelled to appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the Jim’s children. The court concluded that Joe was liable for the costs associated with the appointment of the guardian ad litem because they were incurred as a direct result of the mismanagement of the Jim’s estate.

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. A surety is the person or company that guarantees the bond and is liable for losses to the estate due to the negligence or malfeasance of the representative. A surety can be an individual or a company. Under Illinois law, if the surety is an individual, the amount of bond required will be more than if the surety is a company.

  • Individual surety: If an individual issues the bond, the bond will be at least 2 times the value of the personal estate. For example, if the value of the personal property in the estate is $200,000, then the bond must be a minimum of $400,000.
  • Surety company: If a surety company issues the bond, the bond will be at least 1.5 times the value of the personal estate. For example, if the value of the personal property in the estate is $200,000, then the bond must be a minimum of $300,000.

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. To learn more about the reasons the court may increase or decrease fiduciary bond, contact a Probate Court attorney in Chicago.

Suit on Bond

If the representative acted in a negligent manner with respect to managing estate assets or committed an illegal act with respect to estate assets, then a suit may be filed against the obligor on the bond. A suit on a bond may be prosecuted against one or more of the obligors named in the bond for the use of any person who may have been injured by reason of the neglect or improper conduct of the principal on 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.

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. Bond on appeal: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-14
Illinois Probate Act, Section 12-15- Suit on Bond

Suit on a bond executed under this Act may be prosecuted against one or more of the obligors named in the bond in the name of the people of the State of Illinois for the use of any person who may have been injured by reason of the neglect or improper conduct of the principal on the bond. Suits may be prosecuted on the bond from time to time and the bond does not become void on a recovery thereon until the whole penalty is recovered. It is not necessary to a recovery that a devastavit shall have previously been established against the principal. A copy of the bond, authenticated by the clerk of the court, is admissible in evidence to authorize recovery on 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.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The bond requirement is there to protect the estate from negligence or malfeasance on the part of the representative. There are many rules related to the amount of the bond, increasing and decreasing the bond, waiving bond, and surety, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, 12-13- New or additional bond. If you have questions or concerns related to the bond requirement or any other requirements related to the appointment of an executor or administrator, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced estate administration 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 representative and details of administration. Contact an attorney in our office at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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