Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-6: Filing of Bond
An administrator is the person that is responsible for finalizing a decedent’s estate. If the decedent left a will, the administrator is commonly referred to as an executor. In the absence of a will, the decedent is called an estate administrator. In order to be appointed administrator and have legal authority to act on behalf of the estate, the person must petition the Probate Court. If the court concludes that the petitioner is qualified, it will use him (or her) a document called “letters.” The process of estate administration often involves risk of loss to the estate, beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors. As a result, Illinois law has safeguards to try to prevent such losses. One safeguard is to require the filing of bonds in certain circumstances. A bond is an insurance policy that administrators and sometimes distributees carry to protect estates, beneficiaries, and heirs from negligent or illegal activities. If you have questions about the administration process, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 24-6- Filing of bond, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Bond Requirement
A bond is an insurance policy that is typically carried by representatives to protect estates, beneficiaries, and heirs from mistakes, poor judgment, 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. The reason that Illinois and other jurisdictions require bonds is because of the control over estate assets that administrators generally have.
- Controls estate assets. The administrator takes control over estate assets. This means that the administrator is charged with caring for the property, insuring it, investing it, and selling it. If the administrator makes poor decisions with respect to the property and as a result the estate suffers a loss, the representative may be held personally liable. If the administrator is insured with a bond, then the surety will cover the loss to the insured. Also, as a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, there are some administrators who intentionally engage in illegal or unethical activities with estate property. Requiring a bond protects the estate and its beneficiaries from this.
- Pay estate bills. The administrator 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. The administrator is required to send notice to creditors and also publish notice. The administrator must pay all valid claims that are timely filed. Failure to do so may result in liability on the administrator and a suit on the bond.
- Distribution of assets. The administrator is responsible for distributing estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries and heirs based on the will and Illinois law. Mistakes in property distribution may cause financial damage to the estate and result in insufficient assets to distribute to all beneficiaries and heirs.
The Illinois Probate Act has rules related to the amount of bond required. They are based on the value of the estate and the type of surety. If an individual (not a company) issues the bond, the bond will be at least twice the value of the personal property in the estate. 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 court has the option to increase or decrease the amount of the bond during the course of administration based on circumstances that develop during administration. For more details as to when the court may approve a change in the bond, contact an experienced estate administration lawyer in Chicago.Bond Requirement in Special Situations
There special circumstances that may prompt t he court to require a bond. In some cases the bond must be filed by someone other than the representative.
- Early distribution. Generally, the administrator is not permitted to distribute assets until after the end of the claims period. This is to ensure that there are sufficient assets in the estate to pay all claims. However, the court will allow early distribution if two conditions are present. It must appear as if the estate has sufficient assets to pay all claims. The second condition is that the distributee must file a bond that is double the value of the distribution to be paid.
- Distribution on presumption of death. The administration is of an estate of someone who is presumed dead, distribution can be made only if the distributee or someone on behalf of the distribute files a bond that is double the value of the distribution to be paid.
As stated in Illinois Probate Act, section 24-6- Filing of bond, in the case of an early distribution or a distribution on presumption of death, after approval by the court, the bonds provided for in Section 24-4 or 24-5 of this Act must be filed with the clerk of the court.Related Statutory Provisions
- Amount of bond: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-5
- Joint or several bonds: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-8
- Bond on appeal: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/12-14
After approval by the court, the bonds provided for in Section 24-4 or 24-5 of this Act must be filed with the clerk of the court.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you are an interested party in an estate matter and you have questions about or objections to the timing of the distribution of assets or a claim against the estate, it is important that you discuss the process with an experienced estate administration attorney serving Chicago who understands the requirements related to estate administration, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 24-6- Filing of bond. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in matters related to estate administration, estate litigation, and other estate matters. 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.