Under Tennessee law is a bond required of a personal representative (executor or administrator) of an estate?

Posted on Mar 22 2013 1:00PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Generally, the court requires that personal representatives provide a bond before the court will give testamentary letters or letters or administration to administer the estate.  However, under certain circumstances the bond requirement will be waived.  T.C.A. § 30-1-201 provides specific circumstances where a bond is not required including the following:


(a)(1) The clerk shall not require a bond of the personal representative before issuing letters testamentary or letters of administration if:

(A) The decedent by will excuses the personal representative from making bond;

(B) The personal representative and the sole beneficiary of the estate are the same person and the court approves;

(C) All of the beneficiaries of the estate are adults and all of them consent in writing to the personal representative's serving without bond and the court approves; or

(D) The personal representative is a bank that is excused from the requirements of bond by § 45-2-1005.


Even if the bond requirement is waived using one of these exceptions, if the personal representative is "wasting, or likely to waste, the estate" the court can require a bond in an amount that it deems advisable under this statute.  T.C.A. § 30-1-201(b) provides as follows: 


(b) Any interested person may petition the court to suggest and show that the personal representative is wasting, or likely to waste, the estate. In this event, the court may require bond in an amount it deems advisable.


The next question is what bond amount is required if no exceptions found in T.C.A. § 30-1-201 apply.  The statute provides that


(2) If the preceding exemptions from making bond do not apply, the clerk, before issuing the letters, shall take from the personal representative a bond payable to the state, with two (2) or more sufficient sureties or one (1) corporate surety, in an amount determined by the court. If bond is required, the bond shall not be less than the value of the estate of the decedent subject to administration nor more than double the value of the estate and the court may increase or decrease the amount at any time by order.

As a result, the bond can be anywhere from the value of the estate to double the value of the estate.  The court can also modify the size of the bond at any time.

TAGS: Probate Process, Bond, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com