Idaho Personal Representative Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Idaho Personal Representative bond.
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: Calculated based on a tiered structure
- Bond Amount: Determined on a case-by-case basis (more on this later)
- Who Needs it: Certain personal representatives handling the estates of deceased Idaho residents or property owners
- Purpose: To ensure estate beneficiaries and creditors receive compensation if the personal representative mishandles the estate’s assets
- Who Regulates Personal Representatives in Idaho: The local court of the county where the deceased individual resided or had property
Idaho Statute 15-3-103 requires all personal representatives of an estate to be appointed by a court before assuming their fiduciary duties. The Idaho legislature enacted the appointment requirement to ensure that personal representatives do not mismanage the estate’s assets. To provide financial security for the enforcement of this requirement, the court may require the personal representative to purchase a probate surety bond to be eligible for appointment.
What is the Purpose of the Idaho Personal Representative Bond?
Idaho requires personal representatives to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to being appointed as a fiduciary over an estate’s assets. The bond ensures that the estate’s beneficiaries and creditors will receive compensation for financial harm if the personal representative fails to abide by the regulations outlined in Idaho Statute 15-3-606. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the personal representative engages in any acts of fraud or mismanages the estate’s assets. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the estate’s beneficiaries and creditors if the personal representative violates their fiduciary duties.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain an Idaho Personal Representative Surety Bond?
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How is the Bond Amount Determined?
Idaho Statute 15-3-604 dictates that the bond must be in the amount specified in the deceased individual’s will. If no amount was specified, then the bond amount must be equal to the personal representative’s best estimate of the value of the estate’s personal property plus all income the estate is estimated to generate over the next year. The bond amount may be reduced by the value of the estate’s property that is deposited with a domestic financial institution that prevents its unauthorized disposition. Any interested person, including the personal representative, may petition the court to increase or reduce the required bond amount.
What are the Underwriting Requirements for the Idaho Personal Representative Bond?
Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the Idaho Personal Representative bond:
- Personal representative’s credit history (not considered for bonds with limits less than $25,000)
- Whether or not the estate has an attorney (not considered for bonds with limits less than $25,000)
- How long the fiduciary appointment is for
- Whether or not the personal representative is replacing a prior fiduciary
- If the personal representative has ever committed a felony
- If there are disputes among the estate’s beneficiaries
- Whether or not there is any ongoing business in the estate
- If the bond is being required by a creditor
How Much Does the Idaho Personal Representative Bond Cost?
Surety companies typically determine the premium rate for personal representative bonds based on a tiered structure. As a result, larger bond amounts will be charged a lower premium rate than smaller bonds.
The following table illustrates the pricing structure for the Idaho Personal Representative bond:
$1,500,000 Personal Representative Bond Cost
|Total Bond Cost
|Total cost of $4,715
Who is Required to Purchase the Idaho Personal Representative Bond?
Personal representatives in Idaho may be required to purchase a bond at any point during formal testacy. Typically, courts will require a bond if one is deemed necessary to protect the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries and creditors. Additionally, personal representatives will not be required to purchase a bond if the will waives the bond requirement unless an interested person successfully petitions the court to require one. Personal representatives are not required to purchase a bond during informal probate, except in the following situations:
- The will explicitly requires one
- If they are a special administrator
- If any person with an interest of at least $1,000 in the estate petitions the court to require one and their petition is determined to have merit
Banks and financial institutions never need to purchase a bond, and any interested person, including the personal representative, may petition the court to waive their bond requirement.
To paraphrase Idaho Statute 15-1-201, a personal representative is a court-appointed fiduciary responsible for administering a deceased individual’s estate. Personal representatives are called executors if the deceased individual nominated them in their will (testate), and administrators if they were not nominated if no will exists (intestate). Additionally, a special personal representative is someone temporarily appointed to administer the estate while a general personal representative is in the process of being appointed.
How do Personal Representatives Become Appointed in Idaho?
Personal representatives in Idaho must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to Idaho’s uniform probate code for details on the process.
Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications
Personal representatives are ineligible for appointment if they are:
- Under the age of 18
- Deemed unsuitable by the court
Step 2 – Determine Priority
Priority for appointment as a personal representative is granted in the following order
- Persons nominated in the will
- The surviving spouse, provided they are a devisee (entitled to real estate) of the estate
- Any other devisee
- The surviving spouse
- Any other heir
- Any creditor, provided the deceased individual has been dead for at least 45 days
- The public administrator, provided and no consent to act has been filed 60 days after a petition for appointement as a personal representative has been filed
Any person with priority may nominate another qualified person to serve in their place. If an objection to the appointment of a specific personal representative is made in a formal proceeding, then the order of priority outlined above still stands, except in the following situations:
- The court may appoint any qualified person if the estate seems capable of meeting exemptions and costs of administration but incapable of discharging unsecured claims and any creditor petitions them to do so
- If any estate beneficiary objects to an appointment (other than for a person nominated in the will) the court may appoint a person that is acceptable to all devisees and is entitled to more than half the distributable value of the estate, or in the absence of such a person, any qualified person.
When two or more people share priority, they must agree on who will be appointed.
Step 3 – Hire an Attorney
Although not explicitly required, it is highly recommended that personal representatives hire an attorney to assist with the probate process.
Step 4 – Determine the Estate Administration Type
Idaho has four distinct estate administration types, as outlined below:
- Informal Probate: The personal representative can administer the estate with minimal court supervision.
- Formal Testacy: Litigation to determine the validity of a will and/or the appointment of a personal representative. Formal testacy occurs when an interested person petitions the court to commence it.
- Supervised Administration: The personal representative is closely supervised by the court and can be initiated at the request of any interested person, including the personal representative.
- Small Estate: The court’s involvement is limited, and the deceased individual’s property can be distributed via an affidavit instead of a court order. Small estate administration is available to estates:
- Worth $100,000 or less
- Where the deceased individual has been dead for at least 30 days
- Where no application for appointment as a personal representative or summary administration is pending
- Claiming successors are entitled to the property
Step 5 – Contact the Court
Personal representatives must contact the probate court with jurisdiction over the deceased individual’s estate. A representative of the court will walk the personal representative through the appointment process, provide them with all required forms, and answer any questions they may have.
Step 6 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Unless otherwise exempt, personal representatives must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).
How do Idaho Personal Representatives File Their Bonds?
Personal representatives should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the probate court with jurisdiction over the estate.
The surety bond requires signatures from the company that issues the bond and the personal representative. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Court where the bond will be filed
- Name of the deceased individual
- Date the bond goes into effect
- Surety company’s name
- Legal name of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Bond amount
What can Idaho Personal Representatives do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, personal representatives in Idaho must ensure that they:
- Do not engage in any acts of fraud
- Do not mismanage the estate’s assets
- Fulfill their fiduciary duties