Code Section Group

Probate Code - PROB

DIVISION 7. ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES OF DECEDENTS [7000 - 12591]

  ( Division 7 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS [7000 - 7666]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

CHAPTER 4. Public Administrators [7600 - 7666]

  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

ARTICLE 1. Taking Temporary Possession or Control of Property [7600 - 7605]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79. )

7600.
  

If a public officer or employee knows of property of a decedent that is subject to loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation and that ought to be in the possession or control of the public administrator, the officer or employee shall inform the public administrator.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

7600.5.
  

If a person dies in a hospital, convalescent hospital, or board and care facility without known next of kin, the person in charge of the hospital or facility shall give immediate notice of that fact to the public administrator of the county in which the hospital or facility is located. If the notice required by this section is not given, the hospital or facility is liable for (1) any cost of interment incurred by the estate or the county as a result of the failure and (2) any loss to the estate or beneficiaries caused by loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation of property of the decedent as a result of the failure.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

7600.6.
  

A funeral director in control of the decedent’s remains pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code shall notify the public administrator if none of the persons described in paragraphs (2) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code exist, can be found after reasonable inquiry, or can be contacted by reasonable means.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 253, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1999.)

7601.
  

(a) If no personal representative has been appointed, the public administrator of a county shall take prompt possession or control of property of a decedent in the county that is deemed by the public administrator to be subject to loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation, or that the court orders into the possession or control of the public administrator after notice to the public administrator as provided in Section 1220.

(b) If property described in subdivision (a) is beyond the ability of the public administrator to take possession or control, the public administrator is not liable for failing to take possession or control of the property.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 888, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2005.)

7602.
  

(a) A public administrator who is authorized to take possession or control of property of a decedent under this article shall make a prompt search for other property, a will, and instructions for disposition of the decedent’s remains.

(b) If a will is found, the public administrator or custodian of the will shall deliver the will as provided in Section 8200.

(c) If instructions for disposition of the decedent’s remains are found, the public administrator shall promptly deliver the instructions to the person upon whom the right to control disposition of the decedent’s remains devolves as provided in Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) If other property is located, the public administrator shall take possession or control of any property that, in the sole discretion of the public administrator, is deemed to be subject to loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation and that is located anywhere in this state or that is subject to the laws of this state. The public administrator does not have any liability for loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation of property of which he or she is unable to take possession or control.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 888, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2005.)

7603.
  

(a) A public administrator who is authorized to take possession or control of property of a decedent pursuant to this article may issue a written certification of that fact. The written certification is effective for 30 days after the date of issuance.

(b) The public administrator may record a copy of the written certification in any county in which is located real property of which the public administrator is authorized to take possession or control under this article.

(c) A financial institution, government or private agency, retirement fund administrator, insurance company, licensed securities dealer, or other person shall, without the necessity of inquiring into the truth of the written certification, without requiring a death certificate, without charge, and without court order or letters being issued:

(1) Provide the public administrator complete information concerning property held in the sole name of the decedent, including the names and addresses of any beneficiaries.

(2) Grant the public administrator access to a safe-deposit box rented in the sole name of the decedent for the purpose of inspection and removal of any will or instructions for disposition of the decedent’s remains. Costs and expenses incurred in drilling or forcing a safe-deposit box shall be borne by the estate of the decedent.

(3) Surrender to the public administrator any property of the decedent that, in the sole discretion of the public administrator, is deemed to be subject to loss, injury, waste, or misappropriation.

(d) Receipt of the written certification provided by this section:

(1) Constitutes sufficient acquittance for providing information or granting access to the safe-deposit box, for removal of the decedent’s will and instructions for disposition of the decedent’s remains, and for surrendering property of the decedent.

(2) Fully discharges the financial institution, government or private agency, retirement fund administrator, insurance company, licensed securities dealer, or other person from any liability for any act or omission of the public administrator with respect to the property or the safe-deposit box.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 888, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2005.)

7604.
  

If the public administrator takes possession or control of property of a decedent under this article, but another person is subsequently appointed personal representative or subsequently takes control or possession, the public administrator is entitled to reasonable costs incurred for the preservation of the estate, together with reasonable compensation for services. The costs and compensation are a proper expense of administration.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 806, Sec. 24. Effective January 1, 1995.)

7605.
  

On or before January 1, 2010, the public administrator shall comply with the continuing education requirements that are established by the California State Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators.

(Added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 237, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2009.)

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