Court Bonds

Assets Passed Outside of Wills?


We all know—at least in theory—the importance of having a will that clearly communicates our intentions for passing along assets (be they few or many) It’s also important to appoint someone to execute the will (an executor). Along the way, don’t forget, that some assets “pass outside of the will.”  You’ll want to keep these up to date too and organized too.

Prepare Ahead: Executor Bonds

Typically, when a will is made, an executor is designated to carry out the intentions expressed in it. Usually the executor is a family member or friend, but there’s no rule that says it has to be. What’s important is that the executor is prepared to carry out their duties when the time comes.

Though often waived when a will is written, executor bonds, can be very important and reassuring to everyone involved. Sometimes these bonds are even specifically requested by probate courts. That’s because executors are fiduciaries—they are obligated to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. An executor bond (sometimes also referred to as a probate or estate bond) is a type of fiduciary bond—it guarantees the faithful performance of the executor in accordance with the law.

It’s quick and easy to obtain an executor bond with Colonial Surety Company, a leading national provider. The steps are: get a quote online, fill in the essential information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond right from your home lawyer’s office—or even while visiting probate court. It’s so simple you can do it in a few clicks, right here: Executor Bond.

Understanding Assets That Pass Outside of The Will

Some types of assets, like life insurance for example, are already subject to laws regarding their distribution—that’s why they are not typically detailed in wills. It’s a good idea to keep a record of these types of assets and periodically review them. Ensure for example that the listed beneficiaries are up to date on benefits such as life insurance and retirement plans. Consider too what information others—and your executor—will find helpful to have about these assets that “pass outside of the will.”

According to Legal Zoom, the most common types of property that pass outside of a will include:


  • Property held with a right of survivorship: Community property with the right of survivorship and property held in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety will pass automatically to the co-owner upon your death, and nothing you write in your will can change that.


  • Property held in a living trust: A living trust is specifically set up to facilitate the transfer of property upon the grantors death and to bypass probate. Accordingly, the beneficiaries of a living trust automatically receive any property held by the trust upon the grantors death…..


  • Life insurance or annuity proceeds: The beneficiary named on a life insurance or annuity policy automatically receives the proceeds.


  • Proceeds from retirement plans, pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s: As with life insurance proceeds, these pass directly to the beneficiary named on the forms.


Good To Know: Help for Estate Lawyers

Working with Colonial Surety is the easiest, most efficient way to obtain the exact court bond you need for your clients and your cases. Colonial Surety helps you to quickly secure the right court bond and e-file it with the court on time.

Colonialdirect, fully digital, user-friendly system reduces the time, hassle and expense typically associated with antiquated bonding processes.

 In addition to providing bonds directly to the general public, Colonial offers The Partnership Account® for Attorneys. This free business service provides user-friendly client management dashboards, enabling attorneys to easily coordinate, view, complete and e-file the court and fiduciary bonds clients need.Increase your efficiency—and lower costs for clients. See for yourself today: The Partnership Account® for Attorneys.

 Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct writer of surety bonds and insurance products.  Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business everywhere in the USA.