Is estate property ever sold?
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.
How does the Public Administrator sell the estate property?
The Public Administrator sells real 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 Civic Center, advertised in the media and published on the County of Marin website at www.marincounty.org (click on “Departments”, then click on “Public Administrator”).
Can anyone bid on real estate property?
Yes. However, buyers of real property must post a 10% minimum deposit by cash or certified check with the Offer to Purchase before the bid is accepted.
Can the Public Administrator or his/her staff buy estate property?
No. California state law prohibits the Public Administrator and his/her staff from purchasing estate property.
Who can make a claim against the estate?
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.
During administration, do funds held by the Public Administrator earn interest?
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.
Do estate beneficiaries receive a full accounting of the estate administration?
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.
How long does it take for the estate to be distributed to the heirs?
The complexity of the estate and the determination of the individuals who 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.
How can a beneficiary or other interested person help to speed up the administration?
They can give invaluable assistance by promptly completing all forms and answering all questions sent to them by the Public Administrator.