The Public Administrator is authorized to protect the assets of decedents when no executor or administrator has been appointed to the estate, when property belonging to the person’s estate is at risk of loss, damage or misappropriation or when ordered to by the Court. When the Public Administrator becomes aware of an estate that needs administration, they have the responsibility of attempting to locate a will, the next of kin and protect all assets of the estate.
The duties of the Public Administrator are to protect the decedent’s property from waste, loss or theft; make appropriate burial arrangements; conduct a thorough investigation to discover all assets; and, pay outstanding obligations, including taxes. They also locate the persons entitled to inherit from the estate and ensure that these individuals receive their inheritance. The Public Administrator liquidates and disburses the estate according to the decedent’s will, if there is one, or according to probate code. This process can be very lengthy and it may take years before completion.