Public Administrator

Using the Napa County Public Administrator to handle an estate

If the heirs of a decedent’s Estate with property in Napa County are not able to handle the Probate of the Estate, the family can refer the Probate matter to the Napa County Public Administrator to handle the Estate. There is no form needed. A statement, which can be by e-mail from the family stating that they are unable to Probate the Estate, is sufficient to start the process. The statement should include the known heirs to the Estate and the heir’s contact information. The Public Administrator includes that information in the Petition for Administration with the Court. The Petition process provides notice to all interested parties and heirs. There are no upfront funds needed from the family. Once the Estate is settled and the statutory fee is paid to the Public Administrator, the remainder of the Estate is distributed to the heirs per the order of the Court. 

The statutory fee is calculated as follows pursuant to California Probate Code Section 10800 - Subject to the provisions of this part, for ordinary services the personal representative shall receive compensation based on the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative, as follows: (1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); 2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); (3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000); (4) One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000); (5) One-half of one percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000); (6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court.

  1. For the purposes of this section, the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal value of property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, less losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on estate

The Court provides supervision when the Public Administrator probates an Estate that is greater than $150,000. The Public Administrator’s role is to marshal and protect all Estate assets. If property is to be sold, the Public Administrator is mandated to obtain the best possible results for the Estate. The Court appoints a Probate Referee who has the job of appraising the value of any real property and specific personal property. That Inventory and Appraisal, completed by the Probate Referee, is filed with the Court. When selling real property, the duty of the Public Administrator is to sell at no less than 90% of the appraised value shown in the Inventory and Appraisal. 

More information on the role of Public Administrator, Public Conservator and Public Guardian can be found on our FAQ page.

You can reach the Napa County Public Administrator’s Office at 707-253-4459 or by emailing Joseph Cherry

Should you have any questions please contact Napa County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk John Tuteur at 707.253.4459 or by e-mail John Tuteur. More articles can be found on the Assessor’s page.