As we steer out of pandemic-induced social isolation, financial experts remind those of us who have been lucky enough to continue working and saving—to invest in bonds—the kind of social bonds we need in life—and upon death too.
Recently, The New York Times recounted the story of Chanel Reynolds, whose husband died suddenly years ago, and who has since worked to help others manage their affairs—including investing in relationships. Fortunately—the Reynolds had wills—and supportive friends but even so:
His will had an executor but didn’t have signatures, and she didn’t know many of his passwords. The resulting red tape seemed as if it would suffocate her. Her message to others, who might not know whom to put down in their will as a guardian for a child or an overseer of their estate, was this: “If you are at a loss for whom to name, get out there and tighten up your friends and family relationships. Find some better friends. Be a better friend. This is everything. This means everything.”
During the pandemic, Ms. Reynolds, who lives in Seattle, paid for a lawyer to help relatives of a deceased friend from Minneapolis who were trying to navigate the legal process after her death. “Going through probate alone is like walking through a country where they speak a language that you have never even heard before,” she said.
Having the money to pay to help friends is not a requirement, though. In the years after her husband’s death, Ms. Reynolds found herself easily remembering the birthdays and death anniversaries that people close to her were marking — or was just more inclined to text when she was thinking of them.
Bonding—and The Probate Process
Investing in our social bonds—yes, right? What a good reminder as we think about our finances for the go forward. Let’s also remember that supporting our families and friends to prepare for and navigate the probate process can be tremendously helpful. During grief, no one wants to be alone with piles of papers, legalities and so forth. Although it can sound scary, NOLO explains that the probate process can be quite straightforward—especially if we are prepared. Essentially, probate it is simply the legal process that takes place when someone dies. The basics include:
- proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid (usually a routine matter)
- identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- having the property appraised
- paying debts and taxes, and
- distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there’s no will) directs.
Note that sometimes probate courts request a type of fiduciary bond, known as a probate bond. It’s best to procure probate bonds quickly, so as not to delay the proceedings. Colonial Surety Company is here to help, with direct, instant and digital probate bonds. Our steps to obtaining probate—and all fiduciary bonds—are easy: get a quote online, fill out your information, and enter your payment method. Print or e-file the bond from anywhere—even before leaving court.
More To Know
Among the important reasons for creating a will, is that in doing so, we typically, appoint an executor—and that is the person who will manage the steps of the probate process, adhering to the supervision and protocols of the probate court. If there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative or administrator and use state intestate law to determine the distribution of assets. Unless the estate is complicated, the probate process commonly takes a few months to a year. Unpaid taxes, debts, conflicts among family members or contested wills are examples of what can cause complexities and delays during probate. Normally, as Nolo reminds us: Most states allow a certain amount of property to pass free of probate or through a simplified probate procedure.
If you are helping a family member or friend prepare for or navigate the probate process, remember, Colonial Surety is here for you with a complete portfolio of bonds such as estate, executor, personal representative and administrator. We serve the entire country and our user friendly website and on-call experts will help you quickly, efficiently and affordably obtain the bond you need to move your affairs forward.
Probate Law? Partner Up
Still doing the hokey pokey every time clients need court bonds? Colonial’s direct, 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.