Being appointed and acting as an executor is both a privilege and a great challenge. Your responsibilities include administering the estate of the deceased person who appointed you and carrying out instructions to manage their wishes and affairs carefully. Beyond that basic function, there are administrative or estate bonds that can add an even more complex layer to an already daunting set of tasks to navigate!
Both executors and beneficiaries should familiarise themselves with administrative bonds. Doing so with the help of an estate planning attorney will help executors fulfill their role well—which is ultimately in the beneficiary’s interest.
What is the Administrative Bond?
These bonds are essentially insurance policies that secure the beneficiary in case of any negligent or fraudulent acts done by the executor. Executors are under a fiduciary duty—which is the legal obligation to act in the beneficiary’s best interest. If the executor does not act according to their fiduciary duties, then creditors or beneficiaries of the estate can file a claim with the surety company!
In any estate planning done in Ottawa, executors are required to sign an indemnity agreement as part of the application for an administrative bond. This is essentially a contract that ensures the beneficiary proper compensation in the event of losses or damages, and it allows surety companies to hold executors liable when beneficiaries file legitimate claims.
Bonds ensure that executors administer the estate properly and can deter any unfavourable action on their part.
When is This Bond Required?
Administrative bonds (also known as estate bonds) are required in various circumstances. There may be situations where the deceased did not leave behind a Will or the executor specified in the Will does not reside in Ottawa. It’s also possible that the person applying to Court as executor was not named in the Will as such! The estate trustee (executor) may have to apply for probate (Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee) and post a bond in these circumstances.
The executor can then purchase an administrative bond from a bonding or surety company. The application process can be quite lengthy, and requirements include sharing plenty of personal information, background and credit checks, and the disclosure of the assets and liabilities of the estate.
How Much are Administrative Bonds?
According to the Estates Act, bonds should be double the amount of the beneficiary’s property, as indicated in the probate application. Depending on the estate’s complexity and the perceived risk of the applicant, details of the bond may vary. Annual premiums for this bond can also be paid out of the estate.
Estate bonds are held in the custody of the court until such time it is cancelled, usually when the court decides that the estate has been properly administered.
Can the Estate Bond Be Reduced or Eliminated?
While there are situations where the estate or administrative bond is required, there may also be no need for the bond under special circumstances according to the Estates Act.
The judge may decide to dispense with the bond if all of the estate debts have been paid and if the circumstances allow creditors to be properly protected. Another deciding factor is whether or not all beneficiaries of the estate are capable adults.
Discussing the reduction or eliminations of the bond with your Ottawa estate lawyer will give you a better understanding of the advantages and risks involved in such a decision.
Executors face a great deal of pressure when it comes to fulfilling the deceased person’s instructions for their estate beneficiaries. There may be risks involved with this kind of agreement, so securing everything on all sides with an administrative bond would be the best option. This will ensure the beneficiaries that the estate will be inherited for the right value and that the executor will do an exemplary job with its administration.
Here at Ontario Wills, we provide you with solutions that are tailor-fit to your circumstances. Whether you’re applying for estate bonds or drafting your estate plan, we offer excellent services with options and costs for your needs. Contact an Ottawa estate planning lawyer to guide you through the process today!