As a beneficiary under a will, what's involved in requesting an estate bond?
My father named my brother as his executor. My brother and I are estranged; I haven't seen him for 10 years. I gather there's a way to apply to court for an estate bond to ensure the executor carries out their responsibilities? I'm worried he won't treat my siblings and I fairly (we're all beneficiaries, including my brother).
To recap, you're concerned about the executor treating you fairly as one of the beneficiaries under your father's will.
Under BC law, a person interested in the estate can apply to court to require the executor to provide security for the administration of the estate. This security, also known as an estate bond, is an amount of money deposited at the court. It protects the beneficiaries of the estate in the event the executor turns bad, so to speak.
A starting point here is to look at what the will says. Not all wills are drawn in the same way. My wills always contain a bond clause. It can help where there is concern with the trustworthiness of the executor. It can be particularly significant with larger estates.
Where the will contains a bond clause, the executor has to obtain an estate bond. Otherwise, the court will not grant probate and the executor won’t be able to assume control over the estate assets.
If a bond clause is not in the will, it can be challenging to convince a court to require a bond. And bonds are expensive. The estate may be hardpressed to pay for a bond, depending on its size.
Each estate is different. Where you as beneficiary are concerned with the choice of executor, someone you are estranged from, there may be better options than seeking an estate bond. It may be preferable to apply for an order replacing the executor or, as an alternative, for an order to be appointed as a co-executor.