Most people believe that a having a Florida Will or Florida Trust will save them money. The California Estate Planning Blog has an interesting comment about how it can actually cost your more money. In Jacksonville Florida as with CA, a Florida will or trust that does not waive bond can actually require one. In some Florida Counties, the judge can still require one even if you have asked to waive the bond.
This means that to handle an estate without a Will or Trust waiving the bond requirement, your personal representative will have to apply for a probate bond to cover the proposed value of your estate at an enormous cost to them. For example, if your estate is worth a million dollars — say a medium sized home in CA along with some cash assets — bond premiums could run approximately $2,000 for every year the estate is opened. The first year’s premium is not refundable if the estate closes within a year.
A probate bond is designed to protect the estate in case the personal representative mismanages the estate or runs off with all of the estate assets. It is kind of hard to do when there’s real estate involved, but the courts still require bond.
Qualifying for a bond also depends on the personal representative’s personal net worth and credit worthiness. Some personal representatives won’t qualify and the bond company will require that their attorney maintain control over the estate account in some agreeable fashion with the bond company.