Two men discussing how long it takes to get a probate bond.

3 minute read

What You Need to Know About Getting a Probate Bond

How long does it usually take to get a probate bond? And what happens if you don't have one? Trust & Will explains what you need to know.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Imagine that you just found out that your favorite Aunt Betty recently passed away. She left behind a will, and in its contents reveals that she has nominated you as her executor. She entrusted you with the important task of managing her estate. You go to file a petition to open probate but then the court orders you to obtain a probate bond. How long does it take to get a probate bond?

Trust & Will answers your questions about getting a probate bond: when it is required, how long it takes, how to get one, and what happens if you don’t. 

When is a probate bond required? 

A probate bond is typically required of any personal representative of an estate, such as an executor, administrator, or trustee. The probate court usually requires that the individual purchases the bond before they can be officially appointed to their role of administering the estate.

A probate bond is similar to an insurance policy in that it provides financial protection. However, the key difference is that it does not protect the individual who purchases the bond. Instead, it protects the estate, its beneficiaries, and its creditors from any wrongdoings of the personal representative. 

The bond comes into play if any suspicion arises regarding the personal representative’s actions. For instance, if an heir of an estate is worried that an executor is misappropriating funds, then they can file a claim with the surety company that holds the bond. The company will launch an investigation, and if they find that the claim is valid, then they will ensure that the personal representative resolves the claim. This is typically in the form of financial reparations. 

There are some cases in which a probate bond won’t be required. The most common case is when a decedent leaves behind a Will that waives the requirement of a bond. There are also cases in which all beneficiaries of an estate are adults and all sign an agreement that a bond shouldn’t be required. This typically happens when the personal representative of the estate is trustworthy, and there is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t act honestly and in good faith. However, the court reserves the right to override these waivers and require a bond regardless. 

[Need help with probate? We offer helpful probate services and will work with you to find the plan that meets your needs. Learn more.]

How long does it take to get a probate bond?

Probate bonds are acquired through private surety companies. These companies assume the liability of debt, default or failure of the individual purchasing the bond. Due to their individual requirements and processes, the length of time it takes to acquire a probate bond varies from company to company.

However, many surety companies can bond a person within 24 hours or as quickly as within the same business day. Selecting a trustworthy surety company and speaking with a representative will give you a better idea of what is required and how quickly you can get bonded. 

What happens if I do not have a probate bond?

A probate bond is designed to protect an estate, its heirs, and its creditors. If you do not have a probate bond, then those people remain unprotected. 

Oftentimes, the probate court will require by law that you are bonded by a surety company before they will appoint you as the executor of an estate. Without a probate bond, you will not be appointed and you will not be able to assume your legal duties.

There can be instances when you cannot get bonded, even if you would like to. For an instance, if you recently declared bankruptcy, then a surety company may not be willing to sell you a probate bond. In this case, you cannot be appointed and the court will appoint another executor who can purchase a bond. 

How do I get a probate bond?

To get a probate bond, you must first select a surety company. There are many reputable surety companies that you can find online, but if you don’t feel sure, you can contact your probate court and ask for recommendations.

When applying for a probate bond, be prepared to supply the court documents related to the case. The surety company will then review your financial credentials, as well as the level of risk associated with your request. They may run a credit report and require you to submit a personal financial statement. 

When you have selected a surety company of your choosing and are ready to apply, contact a representative who can typically assist you through the application process. How long does it take to get a probate bond? When you seek assistance, be sure to ask this question. As you learned in this guide, you can typically get bonded instantly online in the matter of minutes or hours. However, it depends on the length of the application process and how quickly your selected surety company is willing to get you bonded.

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our learn center or chat with a live member support representative!

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.