California law provides a statutory fee for the personal representative / administrator of an estate. The Public Administrator is allowed the same compensation as private administrators. The allowable fees are based on the value of the estate accounted for as follows:
- 4% of the first $100,000
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9,000,000
- 0.5% on the next $15,000,000
- Amounts over $25,000,000 to be determined by the court
The law also provides for statutory attorney’s fees based on the same fee schedule as that of the administrator. The Court may also allow extraordinary fees to the administrator and his/her attorneys for services such as preparation of tax returns, sale of estate property, and litigation to collect assets or defend actions brought against the estate. The Probate Court must review and approve all requests for fees at the time any administrator presents a final accounting to the Court.
Public Administrator fees are deposited in the Nevada County General Fund and used to pay for the costs of administering estate. The Public Administrator can be reached at 530-265-1471 for additional questions.
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The Public Administrator may be notified of a death by mortuaries, the Coroner, residential care facilities, hospitals, landlords, or private citizens when someone dies and there are assets to be protected or if the family of the decedent cannot be immediately located. For more information please call 530-265-1471.
The Public Administrator has the same duties and functions as a private administrator, some of which are to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation to discover all assets.
- Ensure all estate benefits are applied for and received.
- Ensure that the estate is administered according to the decedent’s wishes.
- Locate persons entitled to inherit from the estate and ensure that these individuals receive their inheritance.
- Make arrangements for the disposition of the decedent’s remains.
- Pay decedent’s bills and taxes.Protect the decedent’s property from waste, loss, fraud or theft.
In performing these functions, the Public Administrator is required to maintain a fully documented audit trail to make certain that each and every asset is accounted for and distributed. For more information please call 530-265-1471.
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 where the Public Administrator acts as administrator. The Public Administrator will make arrangements in accordance with any pre-need plans of the decedent, the ability of the estate to pay, and the Probate Court policy as to the reasonable amount to be paid for these services out of estate assets. For more information please call 530-265-1471.
It is the legal method of insuring that the creditors of an estate are paid and that the remaining property in the estate is distributed to the entitled persons. This process is carried out by the executor/administrator of the estate under the supervision of the Probate Division of the Superior Court.
If the value of an estate is in excess of $150,000, a Court proceeding is commenced by filing a petition to admit a will to probate and/or appoint an administrator. After a hearing, the Court will issue its Order to admit the decedent’s will to probate and/or appoint a personal representative. For more information please call 530-265-1471.
A less formal procedure called Summary Administration applies to estates having a value of $150,000 or less. It is designed to permit administration with very little, and in some cases no, Court involvement. Only the Public Administrator is authorized by law to handle a Summary Administration. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
The rights of heirs and beneficiaries are fixed by law. It is usually not necessary to hire an attorney because legal work is handled by the attorney for the Public Administrator. However, if your right to inherit is not clear, is challenged or if substantial claims are made against the estate, you would be advised to retain legal counsel to represent your interests. The fees for such legal representation are your obligation and are not payable by the estate. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
Yes. The Public Administrator has an official bond and, by law, charges each estate a yearly bond fee for this coverage. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
If an estate is insolvent or has insufficient cash assets to pay creditors, taxes, and fees, property will have to be sold to pay these obligations. If an estate is solvent and has sufficient cash, heirs are given the opportunity to select estate assets that they want to receive in place of cash. If real property is vacant, it usually is sold as soon as possible. However, if an heir wishes to receive real property as part of his or her distribution, the heir should make such wishes known and reach an agreement with the Public Administrator as soon as possible. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
The Public Administrator sells real estate property through licensed real estate agents at private auction, which is open to the public, after publishing legal notices and advertising the property. The sale is subject to confirmation by the Probate Court. The Public Administrator also sells personal property through various auction houses or estate liquidators. Sales of property are posted at the Nevada County Court Building and are advertised in the media. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
No. California state law prohibits the Public Administrator and his/her staff from purchasing estate property. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
Anyone who was owed money by the decedent at the time of death must file a Creditor’s Claim with the Court against the estate in order to receive payment from the estate. The Public Administrator, as personal representative, notifies all known creditors that they must file a claim within the statutory period. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
Yes, the Public Administrator maintains all funds in interest bearing accounts in compliance with California law. Interest earnings accrue to the estate and are part of the final distribution. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
Yes, a copy of the final account is mailed to all beneficiaries when it is submitted to the Court for approval. The accounting includes a record of all receipts, disbursements, fees, and the proposed distribution. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
The complexity of the estate and the determination of the individuals that are entitled to inherit the estate dictate the length of time an estate administration will take. Beneficiaries are cautioned not to plan their financial affairs upon the expectation of receiving a distribution of a certain amount at a specific time. In certain instances, a partial preliminary distribution of estate assets can be made with Court approval. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
No, in most cases, the Public Administrator either provides needed services directly through in-house staff and facilities or utilizes an estate account to advance the needed funds. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .
They can give invaluable assistance by promptly and fully completing all forms and answering all questions sent to them by the Public Administrator. For more information please call 530-265-1471 .