Many Florida courts require a personal representative bond as a way to protect an estate, beneficiaries and creditors from a financial loss. A Personal Representative Bonds Protect Assets, also known as an Administrator or Executor, has a duty to the beneficiaries of an estate to pay any debts the estate owes, execute the decedent’s final wishes, and properly distribute funds to beneficiaries.
Courts can bypass this mandate in the event the beneficiaries of the estate issue a statement to the court allowing the Administrator to proceed without the bond or if a provision in the decedent’s last will and testament specifically says a personal representative bond is not necessary. Some Florida jurisdictions do not require the mandate even without these provisions. However, the Court can also enforce the mandate with the aforementioned provisions in place.
A recent case involved a woman who named her only beneficiary the personal representative in the estate. In her last will and testament, she said the beneficiary/personal representative was not required to obtain a personal representative bond. The decision of the court to still mandate the bond left some scratching their heads.
Why mandate the bond if there is only one beneficiary and that person also serves as Executor? Well, there may be only one beneficiary, but there may be more than one person/business owed a debt by the estate. The court has to protect all interested parties, not solely the beneficiary.
The amount of an administrator bond may be 110% or up to 150% of estate, but the value of an estate is not gleaned from the amount of the bond. If you are a beneficiary of an estate, it is best to get information from the Personal Representative directly.