Why does the Public Administrator administer estates?

The Public Administrator is a County official, established by State law. California became a State when gold was found at Sutter's Mill in 1848. After the office of Sheriff was established in 1850, to maintain law and order, and a very cold winter struck in 1850-51, many people died. To take protective possession of the property left behind by deceased miners and other transient residents from out of state, the office of the Public Administrator was established for each County in 1851.

The Public Administrator has the legal authority to take protective custody of property of a decedent, and to investigate the decedent's assets and obligations, family and other interested persons, and related information. The Public Administrator may open probate for the decedent's estate, or refer the estate to the appropriate person(s) for administration.

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1. What is involved in the probate of an estate, and why does it take so long?
2. Why does the Public Administrator administer estates?
3. When is the estate handled by the Public Administrator?
4. How much are the fees of the Public Administrator?
5. What is the difference between a formal probate proceeding and a summary proceeding?
6. Does the Public Administrator make a thorough investigation to discover all estate assets?
7. Will the Public Administrator make funeral arrangements?
8. Can I put in a claim for my expenses?
9. When will claims be paid?
10. What inheritance taxes or estate taxes will the estate have to pay?
11. Can you give me the exact financial status of the estate?
12. Will I receive regular reports on the progress of the estate?
13. How long does it take to administer an estate?
14. Why is estate property sold?
15. When will the estate be distributed?
16. Will I receive a statement of all receipts and disbursements?