Oklahoma Personal Representative Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
October 4, 2022
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Oklahoma 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: Most personal representatives handling the estates of deceased Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma: The district court with jurisdiction over where the deceased individual resided or had property
Oklahoma Statute 58-161 requires all personal representatives of an estate to be appointed by a court before assuming their fiduciary duties. The Oklahoma 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 a personal representative to purchase and maintain a probate surety bond to be eligible for appointment.
What is the Purpose of the Oklahoma Personal Representative Bond?
Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Statute 58-173. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the personal representative 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 Oklahoma Personal Representative Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining an Oklahoma Personal Representative 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?
Oklahoma Statute 58-171 grants the district court the authority to determine the bond amount on a case-by-case basis. However, the court must base its determination on the probable value of the estate’s personal property and the estimated annual value of any rent the estate’s real property will generate.
Any person interested in the estate may petition the court to increase the required bond amount.
What are the Underwriting Requirements for the Oklahoma Personal Representative Bond?
Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Personal Representative bond:
$1,500,000 Personal Representative Bond Cost
|Bond Amount||Premium Rate||Total Bond Cost|
|Total cost of $4,715|
Who is Required to Purchase the Oklahoma Personal Representative Bond?
Oklahoma requires personal representatives to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a fiduciary appointment. To paraphrase Oklahoma Statute 58-11, a personal representative is a court-appointed fiduciary responsible for administering a deceased individual’s estate. Personal representatives are referred to as executors if the deceased individual nominated them in their will, or administrators if they were not nominated in the will or if no will exists.
Personal representatives are not required to purchase a bond if the court determines that a bond is unnecessary or, in most cases, if the will explicitly waives the bond requirement.
How do Personal Representatives Become Appointed in Oklahoma?
Personal representatives in Oklahoma must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to Oklahoma’s probate statutes for details on the process.
Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications
No person may serve as a personal representative that:
- Is under the age of 18
- Has been convicted of an infamous crime
- Is deemed incompetent by the court
Step 2 – Determine Priority
Priority to serve as a personal representative is granted in the following order:
- Persons named as executors in the will
- The surviving spouse or person they appoint
- The deceased individual’s children
- The deceased individual’s parents
- Any next of kin entitled to the estate’s assets
- Any creditors
- Any legally competent person
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 – Contact the Court
Qualified persons with priority should contact the district court with jurisdiction over the estate to obtain their appointment. 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.
Any person interested in the estate may object to the personal representative’s appointment and petition the court for their removal.
Step 5 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Unless otherwise exempt, personal representatives must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).
How do Oklahoma Personal Representatives File Their Bonds?
Personal representatives should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the district court with jurisdiction over the estate.
The surety bond requires signatures from both the surety 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 is to be filed
- Name of the deceased individual
- Legal name of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
- Date the fiduciary appointment was made
What can Oklahoma Personal Representatives do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, personal representatives in Oklahoma must ensure that they:
- Fulfill their fiduciary duties
- Do not mismanage the estate’s assets