General Information

What is the Charge of The Public Administrator?

Answer: The Public Administrator of each county must protect the assets of a decedent by taking immediate charge of property when someone has died and:

  • When no executor or administrator has been appointed
  • When property belonging to the persons estate is at risk of loss, damage or misappropriation
  • When ordered by the Court

What Are The Primary Duties of The Public Administrator?

Answer: Once the Public Administrator has been appointed as administrator to an estate, he/she has the same duties and functions as private administrators. They are to:

  • Protect the decedent's property from waste, loss or theft.
  • Make appropriate burial arrangements.
  • Conduct thorough investigations to discover all assets.
  • Ensure that the estate is administered according to the decedent's wishes.
  • Pay decedent's bills and taxes.
  • Locate persons entitled to inherit from the estate and ensure that these individuals receive their inheritance.

How Does The Public Administrator's Office Get Involved in a Case?

Answer: The Public Administrator may be notified of a death by mortuaries, the coroner, residential facilities, hospitals, landlords or private citizens when someone dies and there are assets to protect or the family of the decedent cannot be immediately located or unable to administer the estate. The Superior Court is likely to assign the Public Administrator the authority to administer an estate when there is risk of loss, waste or misappropriation of estate assets. The Superior Court may also appoint the Public Administrator as administrator when an estate is contested.

How Does One Report Such a Case?

Answer: You may call the Public Administrator's office at (530) 225-5565. Public Administrator deputies will provide information and assistance.

Will the Public Administrator Make Funeral Arrangements?

Answer: Yes, according to California law the Public Administrator is required to make funeral arrangements if there is no relative to do so. The Public Administrator deputy will also assist the family in making necessary funeral arrangements in cases that involve the Public Administrator acting as administrator. The Public Administrator will make arrangements commensurate with any pre-need plans of the decedent and the ability of the estate to pay for these services out of the assets.