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Home > Department of Aging & Adult Services > Public Administrator

Public Administrator

Last modified: 4/24/2012 11:13 AM

The Santa Clara County Public Administrator serves the public by managing the estates of persons who die without a will or without an appropriate person willing or able to act as executor. The Public Administrator operates under the authority of the Superior Court as a last resort measure.

When it appears that no one with a higher authority is acting to handle the decedent's estate, it is the duty of the Public Administrator to make a diligent search for a will and the names and addresses of heirs. If a will is found, the named executor is notified. If no will is found, then the Public Administrator will attempt to contact heirs of the decedent to determine if they are able and willing to handle the estate. If there are no heirs, or the heirs are unable or unwilling to act, the Public Administrator may handle the disposition of the estate pursuant to the provisions of the California Probate Code.

Duties of the Public Administrator:

  • Safeguard decedent’s property from waste, loss, theft or misappropriation
  • Make appropriate burial arrangements
  • Conduct thorough investigations to discover all assets
  • Notify and pay decedent’s creditors
  • Locate persons legally entitled to inherit
  • Distribute the estate

Referrals to the Public Administrator may be made by governmental agencies, health facilities, creditors of the estate, the Probate Court, family members, neighbors or others.

For additional information contact: 408-755-7610