The Public Guardian and/or the Public Administrator may be responsible for selling a probate home.
What is a Public Guardian in California?
There are 58 counties in the State of California. The office of the Public Guardian provides estate administration and conservatorship services pursuant to the Welfare and Institution’s Code and the Probate Code. The organizational structure of the services provided varies from county to county. The Public Guardian, Public Administrator, and/or Public Conservator are responsible for the functions that are delegated within each respective department.
Based on the organizational structure, services provided by the Public Guardian may be part of the Health and Human Services Department or a separate county department.
Often the Public Guardian provides Public Conservator Services however the responsibilities may be shared with other departments such as mental health.
The Public Administrator may be within another county department or have its own separate department.
What are the Office’s Responsibilities?
Public Guardian: As previously mentioned, the role is to serve as a Conservator or a person and/or the estate of people who are unable to care for themselves or who need protection from physical or financial abuse.
A Conservatorship is established by an order of the court. There are two types of conservatorship, Probate, and Lanterman-Petris-Short or “LPS”.
With a Probate Conservatorship, the Public Guardian manages financial matters, medical care, housing, placement, advocacy, and essentially all aspect of their client’s life. Physicians or other community agencies usually make referrals for this type of conservatorship.
An LPS Conservatorship requires a referral from a psychiatrist affiliated with certain hospitals. The Public Conservator is responsible for the placement of their clients and for directing mental health treatment.
Public Administrator: When a resident of a county dies without family in California or without a will, the Public Administrator manages or administers the estate. Estate administration may include selling a probate home. The superior court supervises all activities.
Another role the Public Administrator may be responsible for is the supervision of the indigent burial program in the county.
Public Guardian Office Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County is the 6th largest county ranked by population in the State of California.
Santa Clara County, like many other counties, has local court rules. There are specific public guardian forms that must be used.
If an adult cannot care for themselves or their finances, the Santa Clara County Court may appoint a Public Guardian as Conservator. If a mentally ill, incapacitated, or elderly person does not have a friend or relative to act as Trustee, then the court can also appoint a Public Guardian as Trustee. In either case, when selling a probate home, the process is different when the Public Guardian’s office is involved versus if a home is sold by a personal representative of a probate or trust estate.
When selling a probate home, the Public Guardian assigns a listing agent to manage the sale of real property. The county has a list of approved agents they assign listings. Speaking in general terms, real estate is not one size fits all, the listing and sales process involves the use of specific documents. The listing agent will provide very detailed offer writing instructions in the disclosures. Most often bids must be submitted in a sealed envelope. The due date for bids is noted in the multiple listing service. The sale of the property goes to the highest bidder. The process may involve court confirmation and the possibility of someone else over-bidding at the confirmation hearing.
Santa Clara County Public Administrator
What does a county public administrator do? As stated above, the Public Administrator manages the estates of people who die without a will and there isn’t a family member or anyone else to manage the estate. If a person dies with a Will, and the person appointed as executor does not want to serve as executor cannot serve for whatever reason, then the court might also appoint the Public Administrator as executor of the estate.
The process of assigning a listing agent and selling a probate home is essentially the same as if sold by the Public Guardian. Their duties include the same duties a family member would have if they were appointed by the court.
Buying a House Under Probate
Real estate in general is not one size fits all. Probate real estate is not one size fits all. Most of the calls we get from people buying a probate house believe they buy a house at a discount, often a deep discount. We call that myths about screaming hot deals buying probate homes in Santa Clara County. That may be true in other states or other counties in the State of California, however, the market statistics in Santa Clara County prove otherwise.
Our brokerage focuses exclusively on listing homes in probate. We do not represent people buying a house subject to probate. Because probate is so highly specialized, we do recommend buyers work with a certified probate real estate agent. When possible, we are happy to recommend a probate agent to buyers.
Selling Real Estate in Probate
If a home is being sold by a probate estate representative, and they have full authority under IAEA, it will most likely be a probate sale with no court confirmation. As mentioned above, the process most likely will not be subject to the same probate court process as when sold by the Public Administrator or Public Guardian.
The probate property sale procedure with probate homes sold by the public administrator or public guardian must follow strict specific guidelines provided by the listing agent assigned to list the property. In most cases, we speak generally because there may be exceptions to the rules, these sales are subject to the California probate sale overbid process.
Probate Real Estate Agent
Kathleen Daniels, Broker-Owner of Need Probate Help, is extensively trained and certified in probate and trust real estate. She works exclusively with estate representatives. She does not list homes on behalf of the Public Guardian or the Public Administrator selling a probate home. If you need help Contact Kathleen Daniels.