Wyoming Personal Representative Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Wyoming Personal Representative 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 personal representatives handling the estates of deceased Wyoming 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 Wyoming: The district court with jurisdiction over where the deceased individual resided or had property
Wyoming Statute 2-3-101 requires all personal representatives of an estate to be appointed by a probate court before assuming their fiduciary duties. The Wyoming 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, most personal representatives must purchase a probate surety bond to be eligible for appointment.
What is the Purpose of the Wyoming Personal Representative Bond?
Wyoming 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 Wyoming Statute 2-3-101 et seq. Specifically, the bond protects beneficiaries and creditors if the personal representative fails to adhere to all court orders 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 a Wyoming Personal Representative Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Wyoming 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? 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?
Wyoming Statute 2-3-102 dictates that the bond amount will be determined based on the personal representative’s, or any other person’s, valuation of the estate’s assets and must be equal to the deceased individual’s personal property as well as the annual rents, profits, and issues of any real property belonging to the estate. The court may increase the required bond amount if they deem it necessary or if the personal representative sells any of the estate’s real property.
What are the Underwriting Requirements for the Wyoming Personal Representative Bond?
Most surety companies will examine the following factors when determining eligibility for the Wyoming 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 Wyoming 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 Wyoming Personal Representative bond:
$1,500,000 Personal Representative Bond Cost
|Total Bond Cost
|Total cost of $4,715
Who is Required to Purchase the Bond?
Wyoming requires personal representatives to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to being appointed a fiduciary over an estate’s assets. To paraphrase Wyoming Statute 2-1-301, a personal representative is a court-appointed fiduciary responsible for administering a deceased individual’s estate.
Personal representatives are not required to purchase a bond if:
- When the will explicitly states that no bond is required
- When all estate beneficiaries agree to waive the bond requirement
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 Personal Representatives Become Appointed in Wyoming?
Personal representatives in Wyoming must navigate several steps to become court-appointed fiduciaries. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to Wyoming’s probate statutes for details on the process.
Step 1 – Determine the Estate Size
The probate process in Wyoming is vastly different depending on the estate size. Estates worth less than $200,000, and not containing any real property, can be settled by filing an Affidavit for Distribution with the clerk of the district court with jurisdiction over the estate. If the estate is worth less than $200,000 but contains real property then a hearing is required and a Decree of Distribution must be issued before any property can be transferred. All required forms can be obtained from the clerk of the relevant court.
Estates worth more than $200,000 will require formal probate.
Step 2 – Hire an Attorney
Although not required, it is highly recommended that personal representatives hire an attorney to assist with the probate process.
Step 3 – Contact the Probate Court
Persons seeking appointment must contact the district court with jurisdiction over the deceased’s estate. The court’s clerk will walk the applicant through the probate process and provide them with all required forms that must be submitted. Based on the type of probate process, as well as whether or not the deceased named a personal representative in their will, there may be a hearing to determine who has priority for the appointment.
Step 4 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Unless otherwise exempt, personal representatives must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).
How do Wyoming 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, including witness signatures, from both the surety company that issues the bond and the applicant. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Legal name of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Bond amount
- Date the bond goes into effect
- Date the bond is signed
- Date the court approved the bond amount
What can Wyoming Personal Representatives do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims against their bonds, personal representatives in Wyoming must ensure that they:
- Perform all of their fiduciary duties
- Obey all court orders
- Do not mismanage the estate’s assets