Court Bonds

Wills: Terminology Explained


As you move from thinking you “should” make a will to getting on with doing so, you might encounter some confusing legal terminology. Don’t let that stop you. Here are a few basic terms to guide you on your way.

 Last Will and Testament?

Most often, what we are referring to as a “will” is officially a “last will and testament.” Putting this in place will be very helpful to you—and your family and friends. Legal experts at Nay & Friedenberg explain:

A last will and testament is a document that allows you to name beneficiaries of your estate (i.e., the persons who will receive your property and assets), as well as name guardians for minor children. In addition to describing who will benefit from your estate and who will take care of minor children, a last will and testament names the person or persons in charge of administering your estate. In Oregon, the person administering your estate is known as a personal representative. It is important to keep in mind that a Last Will and Testament only takes effect after you have died. This means a last will and testament may be amended any time prior to your death.

Personal Representative and Fiduciary Bonds Explained

When you create your last will and testament, you designate someone, typically a family member or friend, to administer your affairs after you die. In some areas of the country, this person is referred to as a personal representative, although executor is also commonly used. In any case, your representative has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of your estate and its beneficiaries.

Although often waived by families during the process of creating the will, fiduciary bonds, such as personal representative bonds, can help inspire the confidence of everyone involved. Sometimes they are even required during the probate process. Essentially, personal representative bonds guarantee the beneficiaries that the estate will be administered in accordance with state law. It is quick and easy to obtain personal representative—and other fiduciary bonds, such as executor bonds from leading national provider: Colonial Surety Company. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond instantly—from anywhere. It is so simple you can do it now: Personal Representative Bond Here.

 Pour-Over Will?

 You may hear the term pour-over will, but you only need to consider this if you are setting up a revocable living trust. Trusts are sometimes chosen if a family determines it would be best to avoid the traditional probate process, in the interest of expediency, taxes or other considerations. As legal experts explain:

  A pour-over will works in conjunction with a revocable living trust. When a person creates a revocable living trust the goal is to have the trust administer the persons estate upon his or her death rather than needing to perform a probate administration. However, occasionally a person who has made a trust, whether by accident or on purpose, has not re-titled or purchased an asset in the trusts name. A pour-over will directs that any such property in a persons own name that needs to go through probate should be governed by the terms of the trust rather than the intestacy laws that would have otherwise applied. In short, a pour-over will acts as a safety net for a revocable trust to ensure that all assets upon a persons death pass in accordance with the terms of the revocable trust whether they have been funded into the revocable trust or, for whatever reason, kept out of the revocable trust.

 If you choose to work with your lawyer to set up a trust, you will designate a trustee to administer it. Obtaining a trustee bond  is a good way to protect the interests of the beneficiaries.

 Estate Law? Need a Partner?

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 In addition to providing bonds directly to the general public, Colonial Surety Company 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: Partnership Account® for Attorneys.

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