Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/12-8: Joint or Several Bonds
Probate court has jurisdiction over matters related to the administration of the estates of decedents. A representative is appointed to manage the estate, and the process if overseen by the Probate Court. There are a number of requirements related to serving as a representative, including securing a bond. Failure to do so may result in being disqualified from serving as representative. If you have questions related to the process of being appointed a representative, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 12-8- Joint or several bonds, contact an experienced estate administration attorneys in Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who will explain to you the process and the requirements.Bond Requirement
The Illinois Probate Court typically will require that anyone seeking to serve as a representative post a bond. A representative is an executor, administrator, or guardian. Bond is a type of insurance that protects the estate or the person from losses that result from the negligence or malfeasance of the representative. For example, an executor generally has access to all of the assets of the decedent’s probate estate. This may include bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and personal property. It is the job of an executor to manage the estate property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. As a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, if the executor is negligent in doing so or breaches his or her fiduciary responsibility in doing so, there could be significant damage to the financial status of the estate.
Except in a few circumstances when the bond requirement is waived, in order to protect estates the law requires representatives to get insurance in the form of a bond. If the representative is not able to get a bond, then the court may not allow the representative to move forward with estate administrator responsibilities and may appoint another person.
The exceptions to the bond requirements include:
- Small estates. If the estate is small, formal administration may not be required. If this is the case, the bond requirement may be waived.
- Will does not require a bond. If there is a will and the will waives the bond requirement, the court will generally honor that provision.
- Corporate. When the estate’s representative is a corporate representative, no bond is required.
However, if there are circumstances that the court feels make a bond necessary, then the judge can order a bond.Amount of Bond
According to the Illinois Probate Act, section 12-5- Amount of bond, the amount of bond is based on whether the surety is an individual or a company. If an individual issue the bond, it must be at least 2 times the value of the personal estate (not the real estate). On the other hand, if a surety company issues the bond, the bond must be at least 1.5 times the value of the personal estate.
Other factors may impact the amount of the bond. For example, the bond may be increased if the executor or administrator takes possession of the decedent’s real estate. The amount of the increase is up to the probate court judge. In addition, if the estate is expecting a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and the settlement money is to go to the executor or administrator, the bond must be 1.5 or 2 times the amount of the funds, depending on whether the surety is an individual or a company. Any questions related to the bond requirement, including the amount should be directed to a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney.Joint or Several Bonds
According to Illinois Probate Act, section 12-8- Joint or several bonds, the court may permit a representative of the estates or persons of more than one ward to include his or her obligations to some or all in a single bond. Similarly, if more than one person is appointed executor, administrator, or guardian of the same estate or person, the Probate Court may take a separate bond with sureties from each of the representatives, or a joint bond with sureties from both or all.Related Statutory Provisions
- When security excused or specified: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-4
- Amount of bond: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-5
- Waiver or reduction of bond of representative of ward in certain cases : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-6
(a) The court may permit a representative of the estates or persons of more than one ward to include his obligations to some or all in one bond.
(b) When 2 or more persons are appointed representatives of the same estate or person, the court may take a separate bond with sureties from each or a joint bond with sureties from both or all.
If you are involved in the administration of an estate, it is important that you understand all of the rules related to the appointment of a representative, including the requirements related to bond. Contact an experienced estate administration attorney serving Chicago, who understands the Probate Court Act, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 12-8- Joint or several bonds. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 20 years of experience representing clients in estate matters, including matters related to probate and 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.