SENATE BILL NO. 356
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 15, TITLE 12 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENT OF A BOND FOR A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF A DECEDENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 15, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by striking Subchapter II of said Chapter and substituting in lieu thereof a new Subchapter II to read as follows:
"Subchapter II. Bond
§1521. Requirement of Bond.
Prior to receiving letters, a personal representative shall qualify by filing with the Register of Wills any required bond.
§1522. Bond not Required Without Court Order, Exceptions.
No bond shall be required of a personal representative prior to receiving letters, except (1) when an executor or other personal representative is appointed to administer an estate under a will containing an express requirement of bond or (2) when bond is required by order of the Court of Chancery under §1524. A bond otherwise required by any will may be dispensed with upon determination by the Court of Chancery that it is not necessary or desirable.
§1523. Bond Amount; Security; Procedure; Reduction.
If bond is required and the provisions of the will or court order do not specify the amount, the amount of the bond shall be fixed by the Register of Wills in an amount which shall not be less than the best estimate that can be made of the decedent's personal estate. The personal representative shall execute and file with the Register a bond with surety, or with other suitable security in an amount not less than the bond.
The Register shall determine that the bond is duly executed by a corporate surety, or one or more Individual sureties whose performance is secured by pledge of persoal property, mortgage on real estate, or other adequate security. On petition of the personal representative or other interested persons, the Court of Chancery may excuse a requirement of bond, increase or reduce the amount of the bond, release sureties, or permit the substitution of another bond with the same or different sureties. In increasing or decreasing the amount of the bond the Court shall take into account, interalia, whether the will excuses the requirement of bond.
§1524. Demand for Bond by Interested Person.
Any person apparently having an interest in the estate worth In excess of $2,000 or any creditor having a claim in excess of $2,000, may make a written demand that a personal representative give bond. The demand must be filed with the Court of Chancery and a copy mailed to the personal representative, if appointment and qualification have occurred. Upon finding that bond is necessary or desirable the Court may order bond but the requirement ceases without order of Court It the person demanding bond ceases to be interested in the estate, or if bond is excused as provided in §1523 or §1524. After bond has been ordered and until the filing of the bond or cessation of the requirement of bond, the personal representative shall refrain from exercising any powers of his office except as necessary to preserve the estate. Failure of the personal representative to meet the requirement of bond by giving suitable bond within 10 days from notice is cause for his removal and appointment of a successor personal representative.
§1525. Term and Conditions of Bond.
(a) The following requirements and provisions apply to any bond required by this subchapter;
(1) Bonds shall name the State of Delaware as obligee for the benefit of the persons Interested in the estate including without limitation the legatees, devisees and other beneficiaries thereof, and shall be conditioned upon the faithful discharge by the fiduciary of all duties according to law.
(2) Unless otherwise provided by the terms of the approved bond, sureties are jointly and severally liable withthe personal representative and with each other. The address of sureties shall be stated in the bond.
(3) By executing an approved bond of a personal representative, the surety consents to the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery in any proceedings pertaining to the fiduciary duties of the persoanl representative and naming the surety as a party. Notice of any proceedings shall be delivered to the surety or mailed to him by registered or certified mail at his address as listed with the Register of Wills where the bond is filed.
(4) On petition of a successor personal representative, any other personal representative of the same decedent, or any interested person, a proceeding in the Court may be initiated by a surety for breach of the obligation of the bond of the personal representative.
(5) The bond of the personal representative is not void after the first recovery but may be proceeded against from time to time until the whole penalty is exhausted.
(b) No action or proceeding may be commenced against the surety on any matter as to which an action or proceeding against the primary obligator is barred by adjudication or limitation.
§1526. Objection to Amount or Form of Bond.
If any interested person objects to the amount of the bond as provided in 91523 or the condition of the bond as provided in 91525 of this Title, such person may petition the Court of Chancery and the Court shall fix the amount and condition of the bond.
§1527. Liability on Bond for Inheritance Taxes and Duties Related Thereto.
The bond of a personal representative shall be liable for all money he may receive for taxes of this State or the United States or for any penalty assessed against him for failure to file a tax return of this State or the United States within the period prescribed by law.
51528. Certificate of Approval; Preservation of Bond.
(a) The execution of the required bond shall be sufficient without any certificate of approval by the Register of Wills.
(b) The Register shall provide safekeeping for every bond."
Section 2. The provisions of this Act shall become effective on the first day of the month following the date of enactment and shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after that date.
Approved June 24, 1982.