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What is a Public Administrator?

A public administrator is a government agency at the county level that administers the estates of county residents who die without a will with no relative eligible or willing to administer their estate.

The Public Administrator is also required to be given notice of probate petitions when the closest living relative is a cousin or more distant than a cousin.

Even if the will names an executor, if the initial executor is unable to qualify or serve and there is no alternative, the Public Administrator can be named replacement to the unqualified executor.

Generally, the Public Administrator can be involved when:

  • A person dies with no will and is survived by no known next of kin or no kin closer than first cousins;
  • When a person dies with a will and no one has offered the will for probate; or
  • When the executor of a will or administrator becomes ill, dies, is convicted of a felony, or otherwise disqualified, and no other person is available to administer the estate.

What does the Public Administrator do?

Similar to an executor or administrator, a Public Administrator collects the assets of the estates, pays the decedent’s debts and other administrative expenses, and distributes the remaining balance to the distributees or beneficiaries.

To do this, the Public Administrator outsources personnel such as real estate brokers, contractors, law firms, and accountants. In turn, the Public Administrator receives a commission as administrator based on a percentage of the value of the estate assets.

Because the Public Administrator normally administers an estate where there are no known kin, the distribution of estate assets takes the longest time. It will require the help of genealogists or investigators to locate the distant relatives who may be located in different states or countries.

To prevent a Public Administrator from administering your estate and taking a portion of your assets as a result, you must plan your estate with a well-written will nominating an executor and alternative executors.

Should you need assistance in estate planning and the drafting of your will, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We are located in New York, NY. You can call us at 212-233-1233 or send us an email at [email protected].