Complete Guide to Guardianship Bonds
A guardianship bond, which is sometimes also referred to as a custodian bond, trustee bond, or conservatorship bond, is one type among the general classification of court bonds, and is a requirement of courts in situations where some person has been appointed as representative of an individual, often a younger person. This representative is generally put in charge of finances as well as other matters, and carries out these duties on behalf of someone who is usually unable to do it for themselves, for instance a senior, minor, or someone who is disabled.
It works as a kind of guarantee that the guardian representative will carry out assigned tasks in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the person whom he/she is representing. If mismanagement or any other form of abuse should occur during execution of these tasks, a claim can be filed against the bond, so that the protected person suffers no financial damage.
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How they Work
Just like all other surety bonds, there are three parties to the contractual agreement which is made up in the case of a conservatorship bond (or guardian bond). The first of these three parties is the surety company, which provides the bond and acts as a guarantor of legal compliance on the part of the guardian. The individual who acts as guardian of the ward of the court is known legally as the principal, and the obligee is the body of the court itself, which imposes the requirement of the bond upon the principal.
In the event that the guardian misrepresents the ward of the court somehow, or acts in a manner which is construed in any way to be not in the best interest of that ward, especially if illegal acts are involved, there is a possibility for the ward and his/her representatives to make a claim against the guardianship bond to recover the amount of any losses sustained.
Assuming the claim were found to be valid, the surety company would then be obliged to pay out a sum of money to the ward to cover any financial losses which the ward may have incurred. In most cases, the surety company would then be free to pursue the principal to attempt to recover that same sum of money.
Who needs a guardianship bond / custodian Bond?
A guardianship bonds are usually needed by anyone who is representing or caring for a minor, or someone who is disabled or otherwise unable to carry out their own affairs. While the court does not insist that a guardianship bond be purchased in all cases, it will require a bond when it is clear that a significant amount of money or general estate assets are at stake, and there is at least some possibility of misrepresentation on the part of an appointed guardian.
Are There Different Types of Conservatorship Bonds?
Not really. These bonds are really an individual example of the broader category of fiduciary bonds, as are trustee bonds, probate bonds, estate bonds, and executor bonds. All of these act in virtually the same way, even though the terminology associated with each may be different. Fiduciaries who are appointed by the court for various roles such as guardians, executors, or trustees are the principals involved in all kinds of fiduciary bonds, including conservatorship bonds.
As such, their roles are largely the same across all these assigned duties, i.e. they have been appointed by the court to act on behalf of an incapacitated person, so as to carry out some specific task that the disabled individual is unable to perform for themselves. It is often a requirement of the court for any of these fiduciaries to make regular reports on the progress of their assigned duties, so that the court may be confident of their compliance.
What do they Cost?
The cost of any guardianship bond is always some percentage of the face value of the surety bond itself, which is an amount imposed by the court, and is referred to as the bond premium. The actual amount of the surety bond is a calculation made by the court, and is based primarily on the total amount of the finances and assets owned by the ward. The bond amount is deemed to be an appropriate level of protection which is commensurate with the total value of those assets.
The court sometimes uses an alternative method of calculating the amount of (the bond) premium, if it deems some other approach is more appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The cost of the bond to a principal purchasing one will largely be dependent on the buyer’s credit score and overall financial stability, usually a figure between 1% and 3% of the bond premium. For extremely high bond premium amounts, the cost to a principal generally decreases, and is commonly less than 1% of the total amount of the surety bond.
How to get a Guardianship Bond
The process for obtaining a guardianship bond is fairly simple, especially if you have good credit history and are deemed to be financially stable as an applicant. The first step in obtaining a custodial bond is to choose a surety company from which you will purchase the bond. A good choice in this regard would be NFP Surety, one of the country’s largest and most reliable such companies, and one which is authorized to sell guardianship bonds ( conservatorship bond) in every state.
If you happen to have bad credit or spotty credit, it will be a judgment call on the part of the bonding company whether or not they choose to issue a bond to you. This is always an important consideration for the company, because it must weigh the possibility of a principal defaulting if any claim were to be made against the bond, in which case it would then become fully liable for the amount of the claim. NFP surety will make every attempt to work with bad credit applicants, in order to ensure that they can become bonded.
After applying online, by phone, or through the mail, you would receive an indemnity agreement from the company which must then be signed in the presence of a notary public, and returned along with the fee for the surety bond. Once the company receives the indemnity agreement back, the surety would go into effect.
Whether you refer to them as Conservatorship bonds, custodian bond, or trustee bond, we can help you get properly bonded.