When the court appoints a guardian to oversee the health or financial decisions of a ward, the guardian takes on the role of a fiduciary. This means that the guardian must act, and make decisions, for the benefit of the ward. In some cases, the court may also require the guardian to obtain a bond to protect the ward in the event the guardian makes a mistake.
When is a bond required?
Since bonds are intended to protect against loss by the ward, they are typically only required when the ward has something substantial to lose. A personal needs guardian is usually not required to have a bond, while a guardian who is managing a ward’s property frequently is required to have a bond. Even if a guardian is managing a ward’s property, the court may not require a bond if the ward has limited assets.
How do you obtain a bond?
When the court orders a guardian to obtain a bond, it also sets the amount of the bond. The amount of the bond is based on the value of the ward’s property and income. The guardian must apply for the bond with a bonding agency, which will conduct a credit check and review of the guardian’s finances to ensure they are financially responsible.
Annual premiums are paid for the bond, much like insurance. The premiums are paid for out of the ward’s assets. If the guardian pays the initial premium themselves, they may seek reimbursement from the ward’s assets.
The amount of a bond can be changed by the court. If a bonding agency rejects a bond application but would approve it for a lower amount, the court can adjust the bond if it is prudent to do so. Furthermore, if the value of the ward’s assets changes over time, the court can raise or lower the bond to reflect the change.