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What Is a Public Administrator? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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A public administrator is an officer of the court who handles all aspects related to an estate when no other person has been appointed as executor or administrator. In some states, this exists but is called another name.

A public administrator is a judicial official who performs administrative tasks to make sure the probate is handled appropriately and sticks to process when no one else is willing or able to handle the execution and disposition of the decedent’s estate.

Roles of a public administrator in probate

A public administrator is appointed in the event that no estate executor or personal representative is available. At that point, the state must step in. The public administrator’s job is to investigate a title search and will search, petition the court for a probate hearing, handle the estates administration as well as issue accounting and distribution after the court approves the accounting.

When is an estate handled by the Public Administrator?

There are a few conditions when a public administrator may be appointed. The main circumstances occur when there is no executor or personal representative availble to handle the probate. However, a ublic administrator may also be appointed when an executor is not doing their job properly. Here are some more reasons why a public administrator may be appointed:

  1. When no executor, personal representative or administrator has been appointed
    and the decedent’s property is uncared for, or subject to loss, injury or waste;
  2. When ordered by the Court;
  3. When an heir nominates the Public Administrator, or the decedent’s Will names
    the Public Administrator as executor;
  4. When there are no known heirs of the decedent’s estate;
  5. When an heir who resides outside of the State of California requests the Public
    Administrator to administrate the decedent’s estate;
  6. When the named Executor fails to act and no other person has a preferred right

How much are the fees of the Public Administrator?

Fees for public administrators vary based on state laws. We have stated the fees for the California Probate Code which provides for statutory fees for executors, administrators and their attorneys and is directionally correct for most states. The Public Administrator and attorneys for the Public Administrator are each entitled to the same compensation, based on the value of the estate. Statutory fees for both the Public Administrator and the attorneys are one-time fees, deducted

prior to the estate’s distribution, after the conclusion of the administration, and calculated as follows:

  • 4% of the first $100,000
  • 3% of the next $100,000
  • 2% of the next $800,000
  • 1% of all above $9 million
  • 0.5% of the next $15 million

Above $25 million dollars, an amount determined by the Court In addition to statutory fees, the Court upon request, may award extraordinary fees for such extra work as selling real and personal property, petitioning for determination of heirship, litigation to collect assets, and defending actions against the estate and other similar matters. All fees must be approved by the Court, in the final accounting.

Bond for public administrators

Public administrators must have a probate bond under most states so that the estate is insured against any issues that may arise with the public administrator. It’s important to note that public administrators an agent of the state from which they are appointed but a probate bond double ensures that the state is protected.

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