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When the Public Administrator has been nominated by a decedent's family, our goal is to work in the best interest of the estate. As mentioned above, our overall objective is to 1) collect a decedent's assets (including partially owned assets), (2) determine and pay the debts, expenses, and taxes, and (3) distribute the balance of the assets to the persons (sometimes trusts) entitled to them. With this in mind, the Public Administrator does not take direction from beneficiaries regarding how to liquidate assets, which vendors to use, or which legal direction to take. We work in a manner that is most expedient to bring an estate to closure. This means we cannot accommodate requests or the preferences of multiple parties. However, beneficiaries may keep in close contact with the Deputy Public Administrator case manager regarding the status of the administration, final accounting and distribution.

A Deputy Public Administrator Case Manager may contact you to clarify disposition of memorabilia (old photos, keepsakes), degree of kindred to the decedent, and the like. Our goal is to advance the case to the earliest distribution and closure within time constraints permitted by the Court. No routine status reports are issued except to the Court. If you have specific questions, please address them in writing to the case manager.

At final accounting, each beneficiary who will receive property from the estate will receive a copy of the accounting (the same filed with the court) which lists all income received and disbursements made during administration of the estate. It is mandatory for any individual or organization who is a beneficiary to provide their Social Security number or tax ID number prior to distribution.

The beneficiary is kept advised via legal notices of the location, date and purpose of hearings. You may receive notices regarding sale of real property, heir ship petitions and other pertinent legal matters. It is generally not necessary to attend these hearings.

  1. Summary Estates
    1. Estates not exceeding $50,000.00 in value. The Public Administrator may act without court authorization to marshal and distribute the assets of these estates pursuant to the Probate Code. (Cal Prob Code § 7660 (a)(2))
    2. Estates valued at $50,000.01 to $150,000.00. The Public Administrator may act after an ex parte application seeking authority to summarily dispose of a small estate is approved by the court. (Cal Prob Code § 7660 (a)(1))
  2. Probated Estates
    These are estates over $150,000.00 in value. An estate of this size is handled by the Public Administrator under the jurisdiction of the Superior Court, subject to general rules of estate administrator. The proceeding commences from the first filing of a petition and appointment of the Public Administrator. At the end of administration accounting is completed and submitted to the court to show what was done before the Public Administrator is discharged. (Cal Prob Code § 7622)