Illinois Executor Bond: A Comprehensive Guide

October 27, 2022

Illinois Executor Bond

This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Illinois Executor 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: Most executors and administrators handling the estates of deceased Illinois residents or property owners
  • Purpose: To ensure estate beneficiaries and creditors receive compensation if the executor or administrator mishandles the estate’s assets
  • Who Regulates Executors and Administrators in Illinois: The court of the county where the deceased individual resided or had property

Background

Section 12-2 of the Illinois Probate Act of 1975 requires all executors and administrators, also known as representatives, of an estate to be appointed by a court and swear an oath before assuming their fiduciary duties. The Illinois legislature enacted the appointment requirement to ensure that executors and administrators do not mismanage the estate’s assets. To provide financial security for the enforcement of this requirement, the court may require the executor or administrator to purchase a probate surety bond to be eligible for appointment.

What is the Purpose of the Illinois Executor Bond?

Illinois requires executors and administrators 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 executor/administrator fails to abide by the regulations outlined in Section 12-2 of the Illinois Probate Act of 1975. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the executor/administrator commits 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 executor or administrator violates their fiduciary duties.

Illinois Executor Bond Form

Illinois Executor Bond Form

How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain an Illinois Executor Surety Bond?

BondExchange makes obtaining an Illinois Executor bond easy. Simply login to your account and use our keyword search to find the “Probate” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone (800) 438-1162, email or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.

At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.

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How is the Bond Amount Determined?

Section 12-5 of the Illinois Probate Act of 1975 dictates that the bond must be in an amount equal to 150% of the value of the estate’s personal property. However, executors and administrators acting as individual sureties must purchase a bond in an amount equal to twice the value of the estate’s personal property. The required bond amount may increase if the executor/administrator has control over the estate’s real property. Additionally, the bond amount may be reduced by the value of personal property deposited with a company that is qualified to accept and execute trust in Illinois.

What are the Underwriting Requirements for the Illinois Executor Bond?

Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the Illinois Executor bond:

  • Fiduciary’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 executor/administrator is replacing a prior fiduciary
  • If the fiduciary 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 Illinois Executor Bond Cost?

Surety companies typically determine the premium rate for executor 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 Illinois Executor bond:

$1,500,000 Personal Representative Bond Cost

Bond Amount Premium Rate Total Bond Cost
First $20,000 0.75% $150
Next $40,000 0.60% $240
Next $140,000 0.50% $700
Next $300,000 0.375% $1,125
Next $1,000,000 0.25% $2,500
Total cost of $4,715

Who is Required to Purchase the Illinois Personal Representative Bond?

Illinois requires executors and administrators to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a fiduciary appointment. To paraphrase section 1-2 of the Illinois Probate Act of 1975, an executor is a person nominated in the deceased individual’s will to administer their estate. Likewise, an administrator is responsible for administering the estate of a deceased individual who either did not nominate them in their will or died without one.

Executors and administrators are not required to purchase a bond if:

  • They are a company that is qualified to administer trusts in Illinois
  • The will explicitly waives the bond requirement (the court may require a bond anyway if it is deemed necessary)

How do Executors and Administrators Become Appointed in Illinois?

Executors and administrators in Illinois must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to Illinois’s Probate Act of 1975 for details on the process.

Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications

No person may be appointed as an executor or administrator that:

    • Is under the age of 18
    • Is not a resident of the United States
    • Is deemed to be of unsound mind and/or incapable of fulfilling their duties
    • Has been convicted of a felony

Step 2 – Determine Priority

Priority to serve as an executor or administrator shall be granted in the following order:

    • Persons nominated in the will
    • The surviving spouse
    • Estate beneficiaries with preference going to the children of the deceased individual
    • Children of the deceased individual
    • Grandchildren of the deceased individual
    • Parents of the deceased individual
    • Siblings of the deceased individual
    • Any other relative
    • Representative of the estate of a deceased ward
    • Public administrator
    • Any creditor

Persons with priority may nominate another individual to administer the estate.

Step 3 – Hire an Attorney

Although not explicitly required, it is highly recommended that executors and administrators hire an attorney to assist with the probate process.

Step 4 – Contact the Court

Executors and administrators must contact the county court with jurisdiction over the deceased individual’s estate. A representative of the court will walk the executor/administrator through the appointment process, provide them with all required forms, and answer any questions they may have.

Step 5 – Purchase a Surety Bond

Unless otherwise exempt, executors and administrators must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).

How do Illinois Executors and Administrators File Their Bonds?

Executors and administrators should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the county court with jurisdiction over the estate.

The surety bond requires signatures from the company that issues the bond and the executor/administrator. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:

  • Court where the bond is to be filed
  • Legal name of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
  • Surety company’s name and state of incorporation
  • Bond amount
  • Date the bond is signed
  • Date the fiduciary appointment was made

What can Illinois Executors and Administrators do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?

To avoid claims against their bonds, executors and administrators in Illinois must ensure that they:

  • Do not engage in any acts of fraud
  • Do not mismanage the estate’s assets
  • Fulfill their fiduciary duties

2022-10-27T15:21:38-04:00