An individual who receives an appointment by the District Court to manage, collect and protect assets of certain individuals, as well as to administer the estates of a deceased person with no surviving or designated descendants or associates either capable or willing to act as an administrator of the estate, is known as a Public Administrator. Public Administrators file reports with the Court on an annual basis, detailing their activities and are accountable to the Court for each case assigned to them. Public Administrators must be bonded and typically perform the following duties:
- Acting as an Administrator or Trustee of an estate when a person has died. The Public Administrator will step forward to protect the assets of the decedent either: 1) until a family member or another person designated by the decedent can be located, 2) when there is no family member who is willing or able to be the administrator for the estate, or 3) when it might be inappropriate for a specific member of the decedent’s family to act as administrator of the estate.
- Administering Conservatorships and Trusts. The Public Administrator could be appointed in a situation where an individual is unable to manage his or her finances and assets—and there is no other suitable person to mange the assets and finances.
- Protecting Assets, Managing Assets, Collecting Assets
- Acting as a neutral fiduciary in controversies which involve “protected persons.” A protected person is one who has had a Conservator appointed to protect his or her interests.
- Stepping in to preserve and protect assets of a deceased person or when an estate is in the midst of a dispute when it is determined that an independent fiduciary is necessary.
- Acting as a Special Administrator when there is a lack of trust among the members of a decedent’s family. Situations like this one can prompt the court to assign an impartial third party in the form of a Public Administrator.
- Acting as Special Administrator of an estate in a personal injury or wrongful death claim when an injured party chooses to bring suit against the estate of a decedent as a method of recovering insurance benefits.
- Assisting the 1st Judicial District of Colorado with cases regarding financial exploitation when appointed as Public Administrator.
To explain what a Public Administrator does in practical terms, suppose a person in a nursing home is being financially exploited; perhaps he or she is writing frequent checks to a questionable person, or has developed a sudden romance which is accompanied by a significant diminishment of assets. A nurse or social worker has concerns about the situation, and brings those concerns before a judge who then appoints a Public Administrator to look out for the welfare of the elderly person. This situation might happen when an elderly person has no family members who are looking out for him or her—or when the family members are the ones doing the exploiting.
Virgina Frazer-Abel was sworn in as the Public Administrator for the 1st Judicial District of Colorado in February of 2014.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love has questions regarding disability or settlement planning, elder law, public administration or fiduciary services, we can help. Contact the attorneys at Frazer-Abel Law, LLC today for a consultation by calling 720-638-1465, or by filling out the contact form on this page. We can answer your questions and help protect you or your loved one’s estate.