New Hampshire Executor Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
November 28, 2022
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire: The probate court of the county where the deceased individual resided or had property
New Hampshire Statute 553:1 et seq requires all executors and administrators of estates to be appointed by a court and swear an oath before assuming their fiduciary duties. The New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire Executor Bond?
New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire Statute 553:13. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the executor/administrator does not submit to the court an accurate inventory of the estate’s assets or fails to properly administer the estate. 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.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a New Hampshire Executor Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a New Hampshire 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.
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How is the Bond Amount Determined for the New Hampshire Executor Bond?
New Hampshire Statute 553:13 grants the judge of the probate court the authority to determine the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis. When determining the required amount, the judge will examine factors such as the value of the estate and if there are any objections to its validity. Any interested person, including the executor/administrator, may petition the judge to increase or reduce the required bond amount.
What are the Underwriting Requirements for the New Hampshire Executor Bond?
Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire Executor bond:
$1,500,000 Executor Bond Cost
|Bond Amount||Premium Rate||Total Bond Cost|
|Total cost of $4,715|
Who is Required to Purchase the New Hampshire Executor Bond?
New Hampshire requires executors and administrators to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a fiduciary appointment. To paraphrase New Hampshire Statute 553:1, 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:
- The deceased individual died either testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will) and the sole beneficiary or heir of the estate is appointed to serve as its administrator
- The deceased individual died testate or intestate and either all beneficiaries approve of the administrator’s appointment or all beneficiaries are appointed as co-administrators
- The deceased individual died testate, a trust is named in the will as the estate’s sole beneficiary, and all trustees approve of the administrator’s appointment
- The court determines no bond is necessary
How do Executors and Administrators Become Appointed in New Hampshire?
Executors and administrators in New Hampshire must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to New Hampshire’s probate statutes as well as the state’s probate page for details on the process.
Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications
Executors and administrators are ineligible for appointment if they are:
- Under the age of 18
- Determined to be unsuitable by the court
Step 2 – Determine Priority
Priority to serve as an executor or administrator shall be granted in the following order:
- To the person(s) nominated in the will
- The surviving spouse, next of kin, or any person they nominate
- Any other devisee (entitled to some or all of the estate’s real property) or creditor
- Any other person the probate judge finds suitable
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 probate court of the county 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.
Through what is known as solemn form, any interested person may request an already proved will be re-examined within 6 months of its approval. The court will conduct a trial to determine the validity of the will.
Step 5 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Unless otherwise exempt, executors and administrators must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).
How do New Hampshire 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, including witness signatures, from the company that issues the bond and the executor/administrator. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Legal name, address, and county of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name, address, county, and state of incorporation
- Court where the bond is to be filed
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
What can New Hampshire Executors and Administrators do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, executors and administrators in New Hampshire must ensure that they:
- Give the probate judge a complete inventory of the estate within 90 days of their appointment
- Do not violate the law when administering the estate
- Deliver an annual report to the probate judge on their administration activities
- Pay all taxes that may be required under New Hampshire RSA 87
- Distribute all property owed to estate beneficiaries and creditors
- Deliver their certificate of appointment to the probate court if a subsequent appointment is granted