As one of the most experienced surety bond agencies in the California, we at Jurisco help thousands of clients every year when they are seeking a Personal Representative Bond (aka Executor Bond). Two questions we often receive are, “What is the process for selling real estate under probate?” And, more specifically, “What is the difference in Personal Representative responsibilities for ‘full authority’ and ‘limited authority’ designations?” As to the latter question, the main difference is in reporting to the court; but more on this in a minute. For the former question, well, there are many resources to help with Probate sales of real property.
Article in the San Francisco Chronicle online (full link: here), and on Fox Business online (full link: here), describe the process of a probate sale of real property, including the steps required by the Personal Representative. The most detailed summary of the probate sale process, however is provided by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) found: here. The thorough people at CAR answer almost four dozen of the most important questions a Personal Representative or real estate professional need to know before entering into a probate sale.
Remember the second question from above? “What are the differences between “full” and “limited” authority pertaining to a probate sale?” The differences are outlined in the Independent Administration Of Estates Act (IAEA). As described on the CAR website and under the IAEA:
If the court grants only limited authority to the personal representative, he/she has the power to do all acts allowed under the IAEA rules except the power to: (1) sell real property, (2) exchange real property, (3) grant an option to purchase real property; or (4) borrow money with a loan secured by an encumbrance on real property. With limited authority, court supervision is required.
On the other hand, full authority granted under IAEA rules allows the personal representative to sell real property, exchange real property, grant an option to purchase real property, or borrow money with a loan secured by real property at his or her discretion. (Link)
So you can see the primary differences between ‘full’ and ‘limited’ authority are the ability to sell real property without court supervision. This is an important factor to consider if you are interested in probate sales or if you have been appointed personal representative and the estate you are administering includes real property.
Since this post is dealing with probate sales, many of the Personal Representatives mentioned above would be required to be bonded in order that other beneficiaries of the estate and all creditors will be satisfied that faithful execution of fiduciary responsibilities will be carried out. If you or your clients have any questions regarding Personal Representative Bonds or probate sales of real estate, contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco and one of their friendly staff will answer all your questions.
At Jurisco, we know that hiring can be complicated. Hiring can also create a large amount of stress for employers who are concerned about their products and the ramifications if valuable trade secrets find their way to competitors. Specifically, they are concerned that these secrets are going to walk out the front door in the pockets of their employees. There is a surety product, however, that can offset some of that worry. Named an Employee Fidelity Bond, this protective agreement allows employers to rest easier knowing that is an extra layer of protections surrounding their products and design secrets. This year on Bloomberg.com, author Karen Gullo reports on a trade secrets case with billions of dollars in ramifications (see full article here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-05/california-man-guilty-of-stealing-dupont-trade-secrets.html). This is a worst case scenario for many employers in California; but the appropriate application of the employee fidelity bond could stave off isolated cases of employee trade secret theft from becoming an epidemic.
Investopedia defines a fidelity bond as:A form of business insurance that offers an employer protection against losses – either monetary or physical – caused by its employees’ fraudulent or dishonest actions. Fidelity bonds are often held by insurance companies and brokerage firms, which are specifically required to carry protection proportional to their net capital. Among the possible forms of loss a fidelity bond covers include fraudulent trading, theft and forgery. (Link)
When applying for a Employee Fidelity Bond (a.k.a. employee dishonesty insurance in Australia) it is important to remember a couple of points: First the bond can be either a ‘blanket bond’ that applies to all employees or it can be specific to an individual and their specific responsibilities. Second, the bond only covers the certain guidelines established in the original agreement. When job functions change, the bond will need to be renewed to reflect the changes.
If you have any more questions regarding Employee Fidelity Bonds please contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco and one of their helpful staff will be happy to answer any questions regarding rates, applications or more information.
Its not fun to think about investment in this context, but the money we invest is often managed by very fallible humans. Our most basic expectations are that fund managers will not be crooks. Incompetent? Well, some people are just bad at what they do. But crooks? That is a different story. Sadly a story that is too often told. A recent story by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Reuters highlights this (see link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/12/us-hedgefunds-fraud-idUSKBN0GC1UY20140812 for the full story). And because of the human propensity to err, safeguards were included in The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1975 (ERISA). One of the more potent controls in the act was the requirement that all fund or investment managers receive an ERISA bond or a personal fiduciary bond.
So, how extensive is this requirement? And which professionals need to be bonded? According to the ERISA provisions and 401k-plan-sponsor.com: Every fiduciary of a plan and anyone else (plan official) who handles or has authority to handle plan assets must be bonded. The bond must provide a direct right of access in favor of the plan in the event the insured plan official takes plan assets. The bond coverage amount must be at least 10 percent of plan as assets up to a maximum bond amount of $500,000. It is unlawful for, anyone who is required to be bonded to handle plan assets without a bond. Likewise, it is unlawful for any fiduciary to allow another plan official to handle plan assets without being properly bonded.
Though ERISA is designed to provide only minimum protections against criminal activity by fund managers, it does provide the framework for making claims against any 401k manager found to have acted in a fraudulent manner. In addition, the ERISA bond application process provides a filter against managers who have poor credit or a history of nefarious behavior.
For more information on ERISA bonds including application, rates, etc., please contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco. One of their knowledgeable and friendly staff will happily answer any questions.
Did you know that there is an industry in california where non-lawyers can be paid for providing assistance in legal matters? Its true. These professionals are called Legal Document Assistants (LDA) and, after they obtain a LDA Bond, are free to offer their services across the state.
California is a vast and complex place. With a legal code that reflects its complexity and enormity. Furthermore, California is a highly litigious state. A recent article by the Bay Area NBC affiliate’s investigative team indicates that California has far more lawsuits regarding the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) than any other state. (see:http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/California-Outpaces-Other-States-in-ADA-Lawsuits-disability-act-246193931.html for the full story) And not everyone elects to pay for represetation and choose to represent themselves. Luckily for them LDA’s are available to help conduct research or otherwise assist in the trial preparation.
Defined by CA Business and Professions code 6400(c) a LDA as:Any person who is not exempted under Section 6401 and who provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, or who holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority. This paragraph does not
apply to any individual whose assistance consists merely of secretarial or receptionist services.
The secretary of state requires all Legal Document Assistants to procure the above-mentioned LDA bond so that prospective clients have feel confident that they are working with trustworthy professionals.
For helpful information on LDA’s see the California Association of Legal Document Assistance website: http://calda.org/. And for more information about the LDA Bond process please contact the Surety Bond experts at Jurisco and one of their helpful staff will answer any questions about rates, applications and more.
Who needs estate planning in Colorado? This questions was posed by Wayne Farlow in ColoradoBiz.com (see full article here: http://www.cobizmag.com/articles/who-needs-estate-planning). The answer is pretty straight forward: Anyone who is going to die. Not to be morbid, but that is the simple truth. No matter the size of your estate, a little planning can save your beneficiaries a lot of hassle after your passing (at a ripe old age, surrounded by your loved ones). Without planning your estate will have to go through probate court which will cost your estate money and may even result in the judge requiring a probate bond (or personal representative bond) for the individual selected to manage the distribution of your estate. Now, in case that last sentence piqued your interest. Let me further explain the Probate Bond: A personal representative bond is required by the state of Colorado to protect the interest of the deceased’s estate, its heirs and those parties who are owed money. The responsibility of a personal representative (formally referred to as an executor in Colorado) is taken seriously by the courts. Courts mandate the surety bond as a form of protection for all parties. While the surety bond protects the heirs and creditors of the estate, it is also a protection for the personal representative to ensure she/he fulfills their duties responsibly. Being Appointed As A Personal Representative On average, the deceased will name the personal representative in their will. However, if this does not occur the responsibility could be entrusted to the closest living relative or even to a financial institution (like a bank) that will oversee the account. A Colorado judge may appoint a person to the position after a probate examiner reviews the petition and estate information. Being named as a personal representative of an estate is a big deal. The court holds the overseer to all his or her actions in order to protect heirs and creditors of the estate. The duties of a personal representative, executor or administrator in Colorado include the following:
- Notifying Inheritors
- File Will in Probate Court
- Pay Taxes
- Distribute Property
- Open Bank Accounts for Estate
- Settle Debts
All of these tasks and more, including the day-to-day details, rest on the shoulders of an executor. Given the amount of responsibility an administrator holds it is necessary for the personal representative bond to fully cover these actions. Surety Bonds exist to make the probate and estate planning process more secure; though they can be complicated. If you have any questions regarding personal representative bonds please dont hesitate to contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco. A member of their friendly staff will be happy to answer any query that may arise.
Have you ever heard the acronym “NIMBY” before? In case not, it stands for “Not in My Backyard”, and is a pejorative term for activist neighbors or communities that staunchly oppose some new development on often spurious grounds. “Want to build a park? Well, not in my backyard. It will attract too many teens and they will do serious harm to my quality of life” And so forth. Not all claims are spurious, of course, and sometimes lawsuits are necessary stop construction before claimants suffer greater harm. In California courts, the only effective way to get immediate relief before the suit goes to court is to file a Preliminary Injunction. And to do so, a claimant in California must post an Injunction Bond.
An example of this scenario, where NIMBY-ism was taken to the extreme, is found in a New York Times article written by Allison Arieff. (See LINK for full article). In the article Ms. Arieff describes how a small group of concerned residents halted construction of a house because they didn’t like the look of it (this is a simplified summary).
So construction was halted, what’s the big deal? Why the need for an injunction bond? Well, the fact is that once construction is halted due to a pre-judgement injunction, it is the defendants who are at risk of being harmed. Construction delays are expensive and there is an emotional distress resulting from being prevented from living in your home. So, in this case, the injunction bond is necessary as it protects the defendant from being wrongfully enjoined; the bond bond covers any damages the defendant may sustain should the court rule the plaintiff’s suit is wrongful (we know this definition is correct, because it comes from the Jurisco website!)
There are many scenarios where construction may pose material harm to a neighbor and not just pique their ire over modernist architecture. For instance, the excavating of a property causes damage to a neighbor’s foundation and halting construction is the only way to prevent serious more foundation damage from occurring. If you find yourself in this situation and you wish to learn more about California Injunction Bonds and injunctive relief, please contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco and one of their knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer all your queries.
Loyal followers of the Jurisco Surety Blog will know that, to operate certain businesses in the State of California, business owners must acquire a license bond to qualify for a license. An article by Matthew Yglesias on Slate.com brought the onus the various licensing boards put on business owners brought the subject of license bonds in to some relief. (See link: for the full article).Though it can seem like acquiring a bond to gain a business license is an undue burden, the requirements are actually in place to protect consumers and employees.
Take for example California Senate Bill 662, which amended provisions (and repealed others) to the Business and Professions Code, relating to structural pest control operators. (See link for more info: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB662) The bond text outlines the changes in regards to the surety bond requirements:
|Existing law requires structural pest control operators to maintain a surety bond in the amount of $4,000 in order to maintain its license or company registration. If a structural pest control operator’s license or company registration is suspended or revoked, on specified grounds, the registrar of the board shall require the applicant, licensee, or registered company, as a condition of the issuance, reissuance, or restoration of the license or company registration, to file a surety bond in a sum to be determined by the registrar based upon the seriousness of the violation, but not less than $1,000 nor more than $8,000.This bill would raise the amount of the surety bond, needed to maintain the license or company registration, from $4,000 to $12,500, and would raise the upper limits of the amount of the surety bond required for an issuance, reissuance, or restoration of the license or company registration, after a suspension or revocation, from $8,000 to $25,000.
The bond in this case is there to protect consumers from harmful activity by the pest control operators. Those being forced to obtain the bond may gripe about the extra hoops they must jump through, but those being protected by the extra layer of insurance and security should feel good that there are protections in place with their interest in mind. Many other businesses in California also require a surety bond to obtain a license. These include:
- Travel Agents,
- Gyms/Health Clubs/Fitness Studios
- Yacht Brokers
- Auto Dealers
- Mobile Home Dealers
If you ever learn that you must obtain a surety license bond to operate a business in the State of California, or elsewhere across America; don’t be overwhelmed. The experts at Jurisco are available to answer your questions and to help you along the path to operating your successful business.
Immigration is one of the biggest issues facing California and the nation right now. Turn on the television or open up any newspaper (online in this case) and you will find a story on immigration. A recent article on WashingtonPost.com by William Harless is just one of hundreds of examples. (see full article here). What is rarely reported, however, are the growing number of professions that serve the immigrant community. One of these professions, The California Immigration Consultant, offers a valuable service by, among other things, helping immigrant families obtain and file necessary forms, and notifying them when they are in need of legal assistance. To ensure that only strong applicants enter this profession, the California secretary of state requires that applications obtain a California Immigration Consultant Bond before they are issued a license.
According to Immigration Nation US, Immigration Consultants, “have the knowledge of process and procedures for filing certain immigration documents and is also knowing of available resources for cases that are beyond the capabilities of an immigration consultant. The bulk of work lies in preparing documents, document packages and filings for clients with various and specific immigration needs” More information can also be found at their website.
Pursuant to the new provisions of California Business and Professions Code section 22443.1, however, the bond requirement has doubled and all applicants and renewal’s will have to obtain an $100,000 Immigration Consultant Bond. For more information on the requirements see the California’s Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/sf/imm-consultant-qualifications.htm
Despite the increase in bond amount, the profession remains in high demand. California has an immigrant population (naturalized and other) of over 10 million and many of these people need expert help so they legally proceed with the immigration process.
If you wish to receive more information on the California Immigration Consultant Bond or have general questions about the bonding process, please contact one of the Surety Bond Experts at Jurisco. A friendly member of their staff will be there to answer all of your queries.
Two recent trends in California have dramatically altered the landscape of “Landlord/Tenant Relationship”; specifically evictions. The first is the skyrocketing real estate market. The second is the rise of ‘room share’ applications like AirBnB and VRBO. What this means is that there is money to be made and both sides, and owners and renters are out to make it. The unfortunate result of this situation is that more and more tenants are being evicted. (See SFGate.com Article by Carolyn Said for more information: Evictions SF) And the already stressed court system is struggling to make sure the rights of both parties are being recognized. A legal surety safeguard called a Writ of Possession Bond is being required by the courts more and more to ensure that the eviction process goes as smoothly and fairly as possible.
The macro situation is this: some people in California are making piles of money in the real estate market right now. Either through selling property at these historic high prices or from acting as landlords and renting their units at previously unseen levels. Compounding this craze is the emergence of short term rental applications like AirBnB and VRBO which create a new and mostly unregulated market. The conflicts arise when tenants, seeking to make money off of their extra rooms or when they are on vacation, violate lease agreements prohibiting short term rentals. In increasing numbers, landlords then take steps to evict tenants and/or take possession of tenants property to satisfy claims. This is where the aforementioned Writ of Possession and Writ of Possession Bond comes in to play.
As defined by ExpertEvictions.com, a Writ of Possession is, “A document issued by the court after the landlord wins an unlawful detainer. The writ of possession is served on the tenant by the sheriff. The writ informs the tenant that the tenant must leave the rental unit by the end of five days, or the sheriff will forcibly remove the tenant.” A Writ of Possession Bond is used if the plaintiff seeks to take possession of property before a judgment is made. In this case, if the landlord wishes to take possession of the real property before the eviction judgment has been finalized. The bond guarantees that if the Writ of Possession is deemed wrongful and that the tenant’s property has suffered undue harm, the defendant be able to collect damages.
As you can see exploding real estate market in California is leading to all sorts of corollary legal issues. And, like a lot of legal issues, they can be quite confusing. If you ever require more information on a Writ of Possession Bond in California, please contact the Surety Bond experts at Jurisco and a knowledgeable member of their staff will be able to answer all your questions.
A recent article in the New York Times by Jennifer Medina on California labor issues (found here) prompted a question. Do you know where your state stands in regards to labor laws? Not all states are equal. In fact, nationwide, there is significant variation between labor heavy regulations and those that favor the employer. Laws in California, for those of you who didn’t already guess, favor labor. And in 2014, the situation can be labeled ‘more so’. There have been several recent changes to the code but the one I wanted to discuss today is California Labor Code 98.2 which covers the appeal process. In order to seek review of a decision, a party has 10 days to file an appeal to the superior court. To successfully file, the appealing parties must post an appeal bond (also known as a undertaking bond) or cash with the superior court in the amount equal to the judgement.
Have you ever felt pressed for time? 10 days can feel like an eternity or like a slowly tightening girdle; just squeezing the breath out of you. The 10 day limit to file an appeal is the crux of issue here. Because, no matter what side of the dispute you are on, labor or employer, if you miss the deadline, you have forfeited your opportunity to contest the court’s decision. (For more info on this see Garret Murai’s helpful article on the appeal process: Here)
Making the right decisions during the 10 day limit is crucial. Should you appeal? Do you feel strongly about the merits of your claim? How do I procure an Appeal Bond or an Undertaking? Which surety bond company should I choose? The former two questions can only be answered by a thorough examination of the case, preferably done with your attorney. The latter two questions are a little easier to answer. Any surety bond agent you choose should have the ability to turn around your appeal bond requirements in a matter of hours if necessary. They should have the experience to offer the time saving advice that could very well save your appeal.
If you have questions about California Labor Code 98.2 or if you want to learn more about the appeal bond or undertaking bond process, please contact the surety bond experts at Jurisco. A member of their experienced staff is available to answer any queries you may have.