Rhode Island Executor Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Rhode Island Executor bond.
At a Glance:
- Lowest 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island: The probate court in the town or county with jurisdiction over where the deceased individual resided or had property
Rhode Island Statute 33-8-1 et seq. requires all executors and administrators of an estate to be appointed by a court before assuming their fiduciary duties. The Rhode Island 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, most executors and administrators must purchase a probate surety bond to be eligible for appointment.
What is the Purpose of the Rhode Island Executor Bond?
Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Statute 33-17-1. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the executor/administrator mismanages the estate’s assets or fails to deliver to the court an accurate account of the deceased individual’s personal property. 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 Rhode Island Executor Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Rhode Island 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? Gain access 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?
Rhode Island Statute 33-17-1 grants the probate court the authority to set the bond amount on a case-by-case basis. When determining the required amount, the probate court will examine factors such as the value of the estate and the income it is expected to generate.
What are the Underwriting Requirements for the Rhode Island Executor Bond?
Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Executor Bond?
Rhode Island requires executors and administrators to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a fiduciary appointment. To paraphrase Rhode Island Statute 18-3-2, an executor is a person nominated in the deceased individual’s will to administer their estate. Likewise, an administrator is a person responsible for administering the estate of a deceased individual that either did not nominate them in their will or died without one.
Exemptions to this definition include:
- Executors/administrators that are the deceased’s surviving spouse or sole heir
- Executors/administrators that are the deceased individual’s heir-at-law and demonstrate to the court that a bond is not necessary
BondExchange now offers monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions for surety bonds. Your customers are able to purchase their bonds on a monthly basis and cancel them anytime. Learn more here.
How do Executors and Administrators Become Appointed in Rhode Island?
Executors and administrators in Rhode Island must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to Rhode Island’s probate statutes for details on the process.
Step 1 – Determine Priority
Priority for appointment as an executor or administrator in Rhode Island is as follows:
- Persons nominated in the will
- The surviving spouse
- Any next of kin
- Any suitable persons
All Rhode Island executors and administrators must be at least 18 years old.
Step 2 – 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 3 – Contact the Probate Court
Persons with priority must contact the probate court in the town or county with jurisdiction over the estate to obtain their appointment. 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 4 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Unless otherwise exempt, executors and administrators must purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the court.
How do Rhode Island Executors and Administrators File Their Bonds?
Executors and administrators should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the probate court in the town or county with jurisdiction over the estate.
The surety bond requires signatures, including witness signatures, from both the surety 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
- Name of the estate
- Legal name, address, and phone number of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name, address, and phone number
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
What can Rhode Island Executors and Administrators do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, executors and administrators in Rhode Island must ensure that they:
- Fulfill their fiduciary duties
- Do not mismanage the estate’s assets
- Deliver an accurate account of the estate’s assets to the probate court