Administrators: Understanding the Required Duties and Bonds


When someone dies without a will, a probate court judge will typically appoint an administrator—and require a bond. Here’s what you need to know about the process.

Probate Courts Are Busy Places

The Conversation estimates that as many as 68% of Americans do not have a will. When someone dies intestate—without a will, the state’s intestacy laws determine the distribution of property to the surviving spouse and other descendants. This process is overseen in probate court.

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute notes that typically when there is no will, a probate court judge appoints an administrator to administer the estate of the decedent until discharged by the court. Frequently, the judge will require the appointed administrator to secure an administrator bond.

What Is an Administrator Bond?

An administrator bond is a type of fiduciary bond required by the court to protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries in accordance with state law. Essentially, the administrator bond guarantees the faithful performance of the appointed administrator.

When a probate court orders an administrator bond, it must be secured quickly, on the court’s schedule. As a leading national provider, Colonial Surety Company helps court appointed administrators in every state quickly obtain their bonds. Uniquely, Colonial

offers a direct, instant and digital way to obtain administrator bonds, as well as estate, fiduciary, personal representative and probate bonds, as they are sometimes called.

 The steps to obtaining an administrator bond with Colonial are easy—get a quote online, fill out your information, and enter your payment method. Print or e-file the bond from anywhere—even while at court. It’s that simple.

Obtain an Administrator Bond Here.

 What Are the Responsibilities of An Administrator?

Importantly, administrators are required to ensure that heirs of the deceased are notified, via their last known addresses, that the estate is in probate. Here is a summary of other key responsibilities of administrators from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute:

  • Preserve and protect the decedent’s property within the estate and the heirs, so far as is possible;
  • Investigate promptly all claims against the decedent’s estate and determine their validity;
  • Cause a written inventory of all the decedent’s property within the estate to be prepared promptly with each article or item being separately set forth and cause such property to be exhibited to and appraised by an appraiser, and the inventory and appraisal thereof to be filed with the court;
  • Give promptly all persons entitled thereto such notice as is required under these proceedings;
  • Account for all property within the estate which may come into his or her possession or control, and to maintain accurate records of all income received and disbursements made during the course of the administration.

How Can Busy Lawyers Save Time?

In addition to providing court and fiduciary bonds, like administrator bonds directly to the general public, Colonial Surety provides an innovative Partnership Account to help busy attorneys. This free business service provides attorneys with user-friendly client management dashboards to coordinate, view, complete and e-file the court and fiduciary bonds clients need.

Often, lawyers and their clients are left shuffling as they scurry to secure court bonds and respond to deadlines. Colonial’s direct, fully digital, user-friendly system reduces the time, hassle and expense typically associated with antiquated processes.

Attorneys are invited to obtain a free Colonial Surety Partnership Account® to streamline the bonding process. Our unique Partnership Account® will increase your efficiency—and lower costs for clients. See for yourself today: Colonial’s Partnership Account for Attorneys.

Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products.  Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and most Territories.