Refunding Bond and Release
Under New Jersey law it is the duty of the fiduciary [Executor or Administrator] to make arrangements to pay bills and other estate expenses and carry out instructions under the Will. NJSA 3B:23-24 provides the fiduciary shall take a Release and Refunding Bond from each beneficiary.
The attorney for the estate prepares the Release and Refunding Bond. The approximate amount that beneficiary will release is typed on the release form. It is mailed the beneficiaries with the following language:
“Please read the enclosed draft Release and Refunding Bonds and estate accounting. If you have any questions regarding the accounting, please call the executor directly since they have the bank records. The law office does not have bank records. Every beneficiary will need to sign their Release and Refunding Bond. If any beneficiary does not sign their release and refunding bond, then the estate funds cannot be distributed to anyone until approved by the Superior Court. An Accounting and Court approval under Rule 4:87-1 would take many months. We are requesting all beneficiaries to immediately make arrangements to sign the Release and Refunding Bond in front of a notary, and return it to my office. Please also note under New Jersey law each beneficiary must certify they do not owe child support. Please fill out the child support section by hand.
The Release & Refunding Bond must be filed with the County Surrogate and a fee paid. “
By statute (N.J.S.A. 3B:23-24) an Executor or Administrator is required on paying a beneficiary his/her share of the estate, to take a Refunding Bond and Release from the beneficiary and to file the bond in the Surrogate’s Court. The statute requires that the Refunding Bond and Release be in the amount or value of the beneficiary’s share of the estate. The beneficiary must sign the Refunding Bond and Release before a Notary Public or attorney. If the beneficiary is a minor or incapacitated person, the Refunding Bond and Release must be signed by the guardian of the property.
The Refunding Bond and Release has a dual purpose:
Refunding – To refund to the Executor or Administrator out of his/her share of the estate his ratable part of any unpaid debts, owed by the testator or intestate, if there are no other assets to pay them.
Release - To discharge the Executor or Administrator of an estate of his/her duties upon distribution to the beneficiary of his/her share of the estate.
In an Administration that required a Surety Bond, the Administrator must request a Certificate of Release from the Surrogate at the time he/she files the Refunding Bond and Release. A Surety Bond will not be cancelled by the insurance agent unless the Certificate of Release is presented to the agent.
It is necessary to file the completed Refunding Bond and Release from each beneficiary of the estate with the Surrogate’s Court. The statutory fee for filing is $ 10.00 per bond and $ 5.00 for the Certificate of Release.
If all the beneficiaries do not sign their Release and Refunding Bond, then a Superior Court lawsuit must be filed called Actions For The Settlement Of Accounts under RULE 4:87. The Court Rule on Accounting is below.
NJSA 3B:23-24. Refunding bond of devisee or distributee A personal representative shall, on paying a devise or distributive share or on delivering an instrument of distribution to the person entitled, take a refunding bond therefor, to be filed in the office of the surrogate of the county wherein he received his letters or in the office of the clerk of the Superior Court, if he received his letters from the Superior Court.