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What is a probate bond?
A probate bond is an insurance policy that protects assets and income in an estate, trust, or conservatorship from certain actions of the fiduciary (either the personal presentative, trustee, or conservator, respectively). This bond is obtained through a surety company, and often referred to as a fiduciary bond. Probate bonds, once obtained, can only be discharged and canceled through an order from the Probate Court.
When would a bond be obtained?
Every fiduciary (whether guardian, conservator, personal representative, etc.) in Probate Court must file an Acceptance of Appointment (“AOA”), PC571, to qualify with the Court before they can start acting in that role. The Court may also order that a fiduciary obtain and file a bond in addition to the AOA. When a person is directed to file an AOA and a bond, both must be submitted for the individual to qualify as the fiduciary and receive the Letter of Authority.
Additionally, sometimes a bond can be ordered after an individual qualifies as a fiduciary. In these situations, if additional liquid assets (i.e., cash or other assets that can be easily converted into cash) are identified in an estate, trust, or protective proceeding, the court may order the fiduciary file a bond relating to these additional assets.
Further, sometimes a bond that was previously obtained and filed with the court can be modified. When the assets or income in the estate, trust, or conservatorship change, the Court may review the amount of the bond and increase or decrease the amount to be protected through the bond accordingly. When a different bond amount is ordered, a new bond order is issued and a new bond or revised bond must be obtained and filed with the Court.
SCAO form PC570, Bond of Fiduciary, (pc570.p65 (michigan.gov)), must be attached to all bonds submitted to the Court. MCR 5.113(A).