When is the estate handled by the Public Administrator?
The Public Administrator may be appointed under the following circumstances:
Does the Public Administrator make a thorough investigation to discover all estate assets?
At the time of the original investigation, the Deputy Public Administrator looks for all leads which may indicate assets of the decedent. These leads are followed up in due course during the administration of the estate. Unless someone has deliberately hidden assets, all assets are usually located before the close of the administration.
What is a formal proceeding?
A formal probate proceeding is the method commonly known for administration of estates. It is used by the Public Administrator for estates with a date-of-death value exceeding $150,000.
What is a summary proceeding?
California law allows a Public Administrator to act as administrator of estates where the total value of the estate does not exceed $150,000. This Summary Proceeding is used only by the Public Administrator. While the minimum fee is $1,000.00, this proceeding is considerably more economical and efficient than a Formal Probate.
How much are the fees of the Public Administrator?
The California Probate Code provides for statutory fees for all executors, administrators and their attorneys. The Public Administrator and his attorney are entitled to the same compensation as other administrators and attorneys. The fees are based on a definite percentage basis calculated on the value of the estate.
The Statutory fees are figured as follows:
4% of the first $100,000
In addition to statutory fees the Court, upon request, will 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 Probate Court, usually at the time of the final account.
When will the estate be distributed?
It is difficult to give a specific answer to exactly when distribution will take place since so many factors are out of the control of the Public Administrator. Generally, do no expect any distribution to be for fourteen (14) months from the appointment of the Administrator. For your own peace of mind, do not plan your financial affairs upon the expectation that you will be receiving a certain amount on a certain date.
While the estate is in administration is the money in the estate earning interest?
Yes, the Public Administrator maintains all funds in insured interest bearing accounts except when they are needed to pay claims and other expenses.
Can I put in a claim for my expenses?
If you actually paid any debts of the decedent or incurred charges directly connected with the decedent's death or paid any part of the funeral expenses you should immediately notify the estate administrator of your status as a creditor. You must also file a Creditor's Claim with documents supporting your claim within four (4) months after the appointment of the Administrator. Creditor Claim forms may be obtained from the civil Courts in California, at any legal bookstore, or in an emergency from the Public Administrator.
Is the Public Administrator bonded?
Yes, the Public Administrator is officially bonded.
When will charges be paid?
The funeral expenses are a priority claim and the only claim the Administrator pays as sufficient funds are available. If the funeral director or mortuary is contacting family members or heirs for payment, he should be referred to the Public Administrator's Office. If arrangements were made by the family and they agreed to pay for services, the estate will reimburse only to the degree that is considered reasonable and the Deputy Public Administrator has agreed to.
What inheritance taxes or estate taxes will the estate have to pay?
Federal estate taxes will be paid from the estate at the rate that applies to the year of death. There are no inheritance taxes in California anymore.
Will I receive a statement of all receipts and disbursements?
On Formal Probates, a copy of the First and Final Account will be mailed to the heirs or legatees when it is submitted to the Court for approval. On Summary Proceedings a copy of the account report will be provided upon request.
Can you give me the exact financial status of the estate?
A complete account will be given upon the final distribution. Statements from this office prior to the actual final account would be estimates only in that substantial change may take place in the financial picture (for example, the filing of a large unexpected claim).
Why don't I receive regular reports on the progress of the estate?
The Public Administrator does not have sufficient staff to keep each heir informed of the status of all cases on any current basis. The primary function of this office is to administer estates, that is, to collect all assets of the decedent, pay just debts, and if there is a residual, to distribute it to those legally entitled as heirs at law or legatees under a Will. Although the Administrator has definite procedures for informing heirs or legatees during the course of the administration, this is not his first obligation and the time of the staff must be primarily devoted to actual administration of the estate. We will attempt to answer as promptly as possible all correspondence by return mail.
Can I have a copy of the death certificate?
Certified copies of the death certificate may be obtained by contacting the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk office by phone at (310) 462-2137 or visit their office at 12400 East Imperial Highway, Norwalk, CA 90650.
Will the Public Administrator make funeral arrangements?
A Deputy Public Administrator will work with the family to make the necessary arrangements, or at their request or absence, the Deputy will assume the responsibility to make necessary arrangements.
What type of funeral arrangements will be made?
Arrangements will be made commensurate with any pre-need plans of the decedent or the ability of the estate to pay. All persons will be afforded a dignified burial.
Do I need to hire an attorney to represent my interests?
It is not necessary to hire an attorney insofar as the ordinary administration of the estate is concerned; this is handled by the attorney for the Public Administrator. If, however, your right to inherit is not clear, or substantial claims affecting the whole inheritance have been filed, you would be well advised to retain legal counsel to represent your special interests. The fees for such attorney representation are a matter for private agreement between you and your attorney and they are not charged against the estate.
How can I help to speed up the administration?
You can give great assistance by completing fully and returning promptly all forms sent to you. The Affidavit of Heirship (family information) is very important and needed as quickly as possible to help the Courts determine who the rightful heirs are.
Why should this small estate take so long to Administer?
There is a general misconception that a very small estate should take less time than a large estate. Actually, the small estate may often take longer since interim decisions must be based on very accurate estimates and there is no room to cover possible error.
Why is property sold?
If an estate is solvent and there is sufficient cash to pay claims and expenses, the Public Administrator does not ordinarily sell real property, securities or jewelry without the permission of the known heirs. Real property poses a problem since it is usually vacant and should be sold as soon as possible. It is rare that an heir residing elsewhere wishes to hold on to the property, but if that is desired an understanding should be reached with the Deputy Public Administrator as soon as possible. Different heirs may have varying wishes as to securities and jewelry.
How is property sold in the estate?
All sales are governed by the California Probate Code. All probate assets are appraised by a Court appointed appraiser. The law imposes certain restrictions on the sale of assets for less than their appraised value. All personal property is sold at auction by open bid to the highest bidder. Securities are sold without notice. All real property is sold only after notice of sale and confirmation by the Court. Real property is sold onsite and sales are confirmed in court. After confirmation, a 60 day escrow is opened. The buyer must close in 60 days.
Can I bid on property?
Yes, at open bid for personal and real property.
Can the Public Administrator, his deputies or his attorney buy estate property?
No. All sales of property to the Public Administrator, his deputies or employees of the Treasurer and Tax Collector are forbidden by law.
When are the auctions held?
Normally, they are held on the second Saturday of each month. However, since in a calendar year there are usually only ten auctions, if someone was interested in attending, they should call ahead. The number is (626) 336-2364.
Where are the auctions held?
The auctions are held at the Public Administrator's warehouse. The warehouse is located at 16610 Chestnut Street, City of Industry, CA 91748.
What time does the auction start?
The preview is from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. the day of the auction. The auction starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues until all items are sold. Usually, that will take until approximately 3:00 p.m.
How can I preview the upcoming personal property auction?
To preview information regarding upcoming personal property auctions, visit the auctioneer's website at http://www.cwsmarketing.com/lacounty.htm.
What is sold at the auction?
All types of personal property--Automobiles, jewelry, collectibles, clothing, furniture, tools, electronics, bric-a-brac. Literally, anything a person could conceivably own.
How much does it cost to bid?
A bidder must deposit $100 to obtain a bidder's paddle. Should he/she not spend that much, the balance will be refunded when the individual chooses to leave the auction.
Also, interested individuals should know that all items are sold as is, where is. They must be paid for the day of the auction and removed from the warehouse premises the same day. Again, if someone should have any questions or want to get on the mailing list, they should call (626) 336-2364.
Real Property Auctions:
The Public Administrator auctions approximately 125 parcels of improved and unimproved real property on an annual basis. Auctions are normally held on a monthly basis. Individuals who wish to obtain auction dates, get on the mailing list, or obtain the terms and conditions may call William Cohen at (213) 974-0857.
When do auctions take place?
Normally, they are held on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month. However, this schedule is dependent on the Public Administrator's inventory of real property. There may be months when, due to a lack of inventory, an auction is not held.
Where is the auction?
The auctions are held on site at the parcel being sold. The auctioneer caravans from property to property. Bidders may obtain a flyer which describes the time and location of each parcel.
What types of property are sold?
The types of properties range from unimproved land to apartment buildings, to highly desirable single family residences.
What are the terms of sale?
All properties are sold as is, where is, at public auction, by the Public Administrator's auctioneer, Kennedy-Wilson. The highest bidder wins the property which is subject to Court Confirmation before escrow can commence. Complete terms and conditions are listed in the flyer which can be obtained from the Public Administrator, or from Kennedy-Wilson. Kennedy-Wilson may be contacted at (310) 887-6446, or by electronic mail at email@example.com. Should you choose to contact Kennedy-Wilson via the telephone, please ask for Richard "Rhett" Winchell.
How do I bid?
To bid at each auction you must have in your possession a $5,000 Cashier's Check, payable to yourself, and a personal check for the balance of the required 10% deposit. Before bidding, one should carefully read all terms and conditions listed in the flyer.