California Probate Bond

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What is a probate bond in California?

A probate bond is a court-ordered surety bond to protect the estate of a deceased person. It ensures the person charged with carrying out the probate process (validating and administering the decedent’s will) does so legally and ethically.

In California, the court often requires a probate bond to ensure that the executor or administrator of the estate will manage the estate assets properly and distribute them according to the terms of the will. One exception to the bond requirement is if the will or the estate’s beneficiaries explicitly waive the requirement in writing.

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Quick Takeaways

  • In California, a probate bond is required to ensure that the executor or administrator of the estate will manage the estate assets properly and distribute them according to the terms of the will. 
  • If the executor fails to fulfill their duties, the bond can compensate the beneficiaries for any losses they suffer.
  • To calculate the bond amount required, you will need to determine the estate’s value. 
  • ZipBonds issues California probate bonds for as little as 0.65% of the bond amount.

How do probate bonds work?

When a probate bond is required, the estate executor must purchase one from a qualified surety bond company. The bond guarantees the executor will fulfill their duties under the law and the terms of the will. It protects the estate and its beneficiaries from illegal activities (e.g., fraud or embezzlement). If the executor fails to fulfill their duties, the bond can be used to compensate beneficiaries for any losses they suffer.

If the will doesn’t name an executor or there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator to complete the probate process. This person acts as the estate’s personal representative and must also be bonded to ensure they adequately manage all estate assets and property.

What are my California probate bond requirements?

The court will set your probate bond amount. In California, the amount will be no more than the sum of the following (as outlined in the California Probate Code):

  • The estimated value of the personal property
  • Probable annual gross income of the estate
  • The estimated value of the decedent’s interest in real property

To calculate the bond amount required, you will need to determine the estate’s total value. For example, if the estate is valued at $500,000, the bond amount would also be $500,000. It’s important to note that the court has the final say in determining the bond amount. It may require a higher or lower amount based on the circumstances of the case.

How much does a probate bond in California cost?

The cost of your probate bond will depend on the value of the estate you manage and your creditworthiness. Keep in mind that if the estate includes real estate, your bond amount could be significantly higher than if it doesn’t.

The bond cost (premium) will be a small percentage of the total bond amount. Typically, the higher your credit score, the lower your premium rate. For example, if the court requires a $500,000 bond and you have excellent credit, the cost of your bond may be as low as $3,250 if your premium rate is 0.65%.

How do I get my California probate bond?

To obtain a probate bond in California, find a reputable surety bond company authorized to issue bonds in the state (like ZipBonds). Complete a probate bond application, providing relevant information about the estate, the executor, and other required details. You will also need to provide financial information and undergo a credit check. Once approved for the bond, you’ll pay a premium and can file the bond with the court.

Get Your California Probate Surety Bond

ZipBonds offers the fastest and most secure option for getting the court and probate bonds you need. Our all-digital platform is intuitive and straightforward. Apply online or call us at (888) 435-4191 to speak with an agent. Many of our bonds are approved and processed quickly.

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About ZipBonds.com

Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for ZipBonds.com when they realized how overly complicated it was to help clients place surety. The frustration of being unable to incorporate the technology they’d used in other insurance-focused projects left them thinking “there has to be a better way.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and that better way is the impetus of everything we do at ZipBonds. We constantly look for innovative ways to improve the bonding process for our clients and agents. Our team comprises individuals who understand all angles of surety – for companies, agencies, and individuals. Incorporating everyone’s point of view to improve the process while simultaneously integrating cutting-edge technology is what sets our business apart.