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Probate Surety Bonds in Vermont

What are probate surety bonds?

Overseeing another person’s estate is a major responsibility, and people who have this responsibility can be held accountable if they act improperly. Should an executor or administrator in Vermont fail to discharge their duties correctly, a probate surety bond may ensure that the estate’s beneficiaries have recourse for compensation.

Those who oversee estates have a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries. Probate surety bonds can help ensure beneficiaries are taken care of -- even if the executor fails in their obligations.

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Who in Vermont needs fiduciary bonds?

Vermont state law generally requires anyone who’s charged with seeing an estate through probate to purchase a fiduciary bond. Both executors and administrators generally need to have one. 

Guardians and conservators also frequently need fiduciary bonds. Although these fiduciaries don’t see an estate through probate, they’re still charged with managing someone else’s estate.

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What types of fiduciary bonds are available?

There are four main types of fiduciary bonds, based on what type of fiduciary needs them:

  • Executor Bonds: Usually for a fiduciary who handles the affairs of someone who passed away with a will in place
  • Administrator Bonds: Usually for a fiduciary who handles the affairs of someone who passed away without a will in place
  • Guardianship Bonds: Usually for a fiduciary who handles the estate of a minor or legally incompetent adult
  • Conservatorship Bonds: Usually for a fiduciary who handles the financial aspects of a ward’s estate

Guardians are often responsible for both the finances and well-being of their charge, while conservators typically only manage financial matters for a charge.

How much protection do probate bonds provide?

The amount of a probate bond is normally set by the probate judge. The judge considers the value of an estate and a few other factors when setting the amount.

Executors and administrators who are unsure of how much their probate bond must be for can find out by asking their attorney or the court.

Do executors need good credit to get a probate bond?

Insurance companies often consider credit score when underwriting other types of bonds, but credit history and score are sometimes less important for probate bonds. While credit can sometimes still have an impact, these bonds are generally available (at least in smaller amounts) even if the executor/administrator has less-than-stellar credit.

If credit is a concern, an insurance agent who specializes in fiduciary bonds can help executors navigate this issue.

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How much do probate bonds cost?

The fee structures for probate bonds are generally percentage-based and follow a tiered structure. Bonds for larger amounts typically are charged a lower percentage but have a higher total cost due to the larger amount that they’re underwritten for.

Even with this pricing method, probate bonds tend to be quite affordable. A knowledgeable and independent insurance agent can help executors/administrators find out precisely how much their bond will be.

How can executors in Vermont get probate surety bonds?

If you oversee the estate of a deceased or a ward, let the independent insurance agents at Paige & Campbell Insurance help you find a surety bond that meets your legal requirements. We regularly assist with Vermont probate surety bonds for executors and administrators, and we can also provide options if you need a guardianship or conservatorship bond.

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