Florida Probate Statute 733.405: Release of Surety
A fiduciary is someone who is authorized to made decisions for and manage the affairs of another. A fiduciary is bound by the law to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. A personal representative is a fiduciary who manages the estate of a decedent on behalf the beneficiaries named in the decedent’s will or on behalf of the decedent’s heirs. A personal representative’s job involves managing the assets of the estate in order to preserve them so that they can be transferred to the beneficiaries or heirs. Under Florida law, personal representatives and other fiduciaries are required to post a bond to protect beneficiaries against financial loss based on the actions of the fiduciary. If you would like to learn more about the bond requirement for personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.405- Release of surety, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Bond Requirement
Because of the risk to the estate involved when someone is charged with the responsibility of managing its assets, the law requires that unless the probate court waives the requirements, all personal representatives who are individuals must secure a bond as condition of serving as personal representative. Failure to do so may result in the personal representative’s letters of administration being revoked, or limitations being placed on the authority of the personal representative.
Personal representatives have practically unlimited access to estate assets including cash, securities, real estate, vehicles, and personal property. It is the ob of the personal representative to protect the property and manage it for the benefit of the decedent’s beneficiaries. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for a personal representative to mismanage estate asset due to mistakes or incompetence, resulting in the estate losing a substantial amount of money. If you are an interested party and have concerns over how a personal representative is managing an estate, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer.Role of Surety
The surety is the company from which the personal representative purchases the bond and who guarantees to an obligee (beneficiaries or heirs) that the personal representative will act in accordance with the terms established by the bond.Release of Surety
Under Florida Statutes, section 733.405- Release of surety, there are rules relate to releasing a surety from its obligation. An interested party such as a beneficiary or an heir can petition the court requesting that the surety be from liability for the future acts and omissions of the personal representative. The court will set a date for a hearing on the petition. During the pendency of the petition, the court may order that the personal representative refrain from his duties, other than taking action to preserve the estate.
During the hearing the probate court judge will enter an order stating the amount of the new bond for the personal representative and the date when the bond shall be filed. If the personal representative fails to give the new bond, the court will remove him (or her) immediately. In addition, as an experienced estate administration attorney in Fort Lauderdale will explain, according to the rules of the Florida Probate Code, the original surety will remain liable in accordance with the terms of its original bond for all actions of the personal representative that occur prior to the approval of the new surety and filing. The new surety shall be liable on its bond only after the filing and approval of the new bond.Related Statutory Provisions
- Bond of fiduciary; when required; form : § 733.402, Fla. Stat.
- Amount of bond : § 733.403, Fla. Stat.
- Liability of surety: § 733.404, Fla. Stat.
- Bond premium allowable as expense of administration : § 733.406, Fla. Stat.
- Subject to the limitations of this section, on the petition of any interested person, the surety is entitled to be released from liability for the future acts and omissions of the fiduciary.
- Pending the hearing of the petition, the court may restrain the fiduciary from acting, except to preserve the estate.
- On hearing, the court shall enter an order prescribing the amount of the new bond for the fiduciary and the date when the bond shall be filed. If the fiduciary fails to give the new bond, the fiduciary shall be removed at once, and further proceedings shall be had as in cases of removal.
- The original surety shall remain liable in accordance with the terms of its original bond for all acts and omissions of the fiduciary that occur prior to the approval of the new surety and filing and approval of the bond. The new surety shall be liable on its bond only after the filing and approval of the new bond.
If you have questions about the requirements related to the fiduciary bond and the surety, including the rules of Florida Statutes, section 733.405- Release of surety, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced estate administration attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to estate administration and the role of fiduciaries. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.