There are many different types of court bonds, all serving different purposes. Understanding the differences in court bonds can ensure you are getting the right court bond for your specific needs.
We, Surety Solutions, put together this informational guide to explain the different types of court bonds available, how they work, how much they cost, and what your obligations are under the bond.
If this guide does not provide the information you need, we are here to help. You can reach us by phone at 866-722-9239, by email, or by live chat during our office hours. We look forward to helping you with your court bond needs.
If you don't know what a surety bond is you can learn more here.
Court bonds can be divided into two main categories:
The main difference between these two types of court bonds is that a Judicial Bond promises payment of sum of money that would be required in a court case, while a Fiduciary Bond only promises faithful and honest performance of a duty.
There are many reasons when you might need a court bond. Some common reasons include:
If you've been asked to get a court bond, don't worry. The next section will explain how you can successfully apply for a bond.
To get a court bond, you'll likely have to work with a surety bond company or law firm.
We recommend getting a surety bond through a surety bonding company because they specialize in issuing these bonds and can help you find the best rate possible.
To get approved for a court bond, you will have to be evaluated, or underwritten.
The surety company will require you to complete an application so they can evaluate your ability to be bonded.
Each bond will have different underwriting (or risk-assessment) depending on the degree of risk involved, the specifics of the case, and the financials of the individual getting the bond.
Since judicial court bonds are often based on a financial guarantee, (unlike fiduciary bonds which are often based on ethical completion of duties) financial strength and stability is vital.
One factor in evaluating your ability to get bonded is your credit. You can watch our video or learn more here.
Your bond amount is usually set by the court. Bond amounts can range widely.
You do not need to pay the full bond amount to get bonded. You will pay a portion of the bond amount, called the bond premium.
Things to note about the bond premium/paying for the bond:
For example, if you need a $50,000 Guardianship Bond, you don't need to pay $50,000. Your rate might be set at $260. This means you would need to pay $260 to get your bond. If your bond needs to be renewed the next year, you would need to pay to renew your bond.
Your rate is based off varying factors, including who you get your bond through. Some companies have more competitive rates than other companies.
If you get a court bond with us, our prices are as follows:
If you want to know exactly what you'd pay, you can get a free quote here.
If you are worried about paying for your bond, or if you have bad credit, it's okay. Our best advice is to apply for your court bond anyway. It is 100% free and it starts a conversation with a surety company.
Collateral is not required with Probate Bonds.
Because of the hazardous nature of Judicial Bonds, collateral might be required in addition to the bond premium.
If collateral is required, the surety company or law firm from whom you are getting your bond will let you know.
When you buy a court bond, the money you pay goes to the surety company who issues your bond. You do not get that money back, even if you fulfill your duties and obligations under the bond. The money is non-refundable.
Did you hear you could get money back for a court bond, specifically a Probate Bond? You could have heard misleading information.
When you are appointed as an Administrator, Executor, Personal Administrator, Trustee, Guardian, or Conservator, the court might require you to get a Probate Bond before you start your duties.
The court might also give you an option to pay cash in lieu of a bond. In our experience, this is rare. A cash option is usually given with collateralized Judicial Bonds, not with Probate Bonds. In the scenario where you are given both options, this is how it would work:
For example, if you are appointed as Administrator over a $50,000 estate, the court might give you the option to purchase a surety bond or post cash. If you opt to post cash, you will need to give the court the entire $50,000 up front. If you opt to purchase a surety bond, you would pay a surety company to write that bond for you. Generally, a $50,000 might cost you around $250.
Most people, for this reason, choose to purchase a surety bond because it is less expensive than posting the entire amount of the bond in cash up front.
But, if you decide to pay the court cash up front, then—assuming you fulfill your duties to the court’s request—upon ending of the case, you would get your money back.
If you do not fulfill your duties, the court could dip into that cash to fulfill your duties, pay for various fees/costs, etc. If this happens, you do not get back that particular cash.
You can learn more in our post "Probate Bond - You Don't Get The Money Back".
When you get a court bond, you are promising that you will fulfill the duties of the bond.
While we can't say exactly what your obligations are under the bond because every bond is different, we can say:
If someone feels you are not fulfilling your duties under or if you fail to pay the court , someone can make a claim against your bond.
If a claim is filed against your bond, the surety company expects you to take care of the claim. If you fail to do this, the Surety will usually start an investigation to determine the claim’s validity. They will reach out to both you and the claimant.
One of two things will happen:
If the surety company finds the claim to be valid, they will remind you of your obligations under the bond and ask you to settle the claim. Usually this involves compensating the claimant for any financial loss or damages incurred.
If you fulfill the claim, the claim process ends.
If you fail to fulfill the claim, the surety company will step in and pay the claim for you. The surety company will then come to you for reimbursement of the settlement and any legal costs associated with it.
This is one way a surety bond differs from an insurance policy. While an insurance company does not expect to be paid back for a claim, a surety company does. You are responsible for cooperating with the surety company during the entire claim process. You are also responsible for paying back the surety company every penny they pay out on a claim, including all costs associated with the claim.
Learn more about the bond claim process and how to avoid it.
The terms fiduciary and probate can be used interchangeably; they both signify bonds required of individuals who have been appointed in a court of law to care for another individual or another individual’s assets. Probate Bonds are often needed in the probate process.
Not sure about probate? Check out this post on how the probate process works.
Probate bonds ensure that court-appointed individuals fulfill their obligations and duties, and do not mismanage or handle assets dishonestly.
Common types of Probate Bonds include:
Judicial Bonds are used when entering a civil proceeding. The judicial bond category can be divided into two further categories:
Plaintiffs are those who originate the law suit. Plaintiff Bonds are required to ensure protection of the defendant, should the plaintiff lose in the law suit. The plaintiff is liable for any damages the defendant suffers as a result of a lawsuit when legal action is resolved in favor of the defendant.
Common types of Plaintiff Bonds are
Defendants are those who a suit is brought against. Defendant Bonds are obtained by defendants to block a plaintiff’s action or postpone a judgement. These bonds can also permit the defendant to regain control of a contested property.
Common types of Defendant Bonds are
You might still have a lot of questions. We made a list of frequently asked questions with answers such as:
To view the answers, read the FAQ Guide.
Click on some of court bonds below to learn more.
I had a great experience with Surety Solutions. I was required to obtain a conservator bond for which I was unfamiliar with the product and process. Stacey at Surety took the time to answer all my questions and I felt I was in good hands throughout the process. The process was quick and painless and the service was second to none.
Excellent!!! Stacey Janes worked with me and I can not express how thorough and professional she is. She went above and beyond to ensure I had everything I needed for a difficult trial. I was really surprised at the high level of customer care that I received. It is rare these days.