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About the Public Administrator
The Public Administrator investigates and administers the estates of persons who die with or without a will or an appropriate person willing or able to act as the administrator.  The Public Administrator only becomes involved when there is no one else with higher authority to administer the decedent’s estate.  The Public Administrator’s functions include searching for existing family members, identifying heirs, making burial arrangements, securing estate assets, and arranging for the payment of debts, sale of personal and real property, and distribution of assets.

The Public Administrator also coordinates Ventura County’s Representative Payee Program.  This is a voluntary program that provides bill-paying support to clients of Ventura County Behavioral Health who receive benefits from Social Security.  The Public Administrator manages the client’s income and expenses with oversight from Behavioral Health case management staff.

About the Public Guardian
The Public Guardian oversees the care of people, including the elderly and those who are gravely disabled due to mental illness, who are unable to care for themselves.  The Public Guardian functions as the legally-appointed guardian or conservator of persons found by the Superior Court to be unable to properly care for themselves or their finances.  Once appointed by the court, the Public Guardian assumes personal and financial responsibilities for care of the conservatee and his or her needs and assets.

Responsibilities of the Public Guardian
The Public Guardian, acting as the conservator, is legally responsible for making all personal/financial decisions and for ensuring the safety, welfare, and well being of the client. Responsibilities include:

  • Finding out-of-home placements
  • Coordinating in-home care
  • Coordinating and overseeing medical treatment
  • Arranging transportation
  • Shopping for necessities
  • Applying for benefits (e.g., Medi-Cal, Social Security, SSI, Veterans benefits, etc.)
  • Paying bills
  • Marshaling and managing assets
  • Managing real property
  • Storing belongings
  • Selling cars, houses, and belongings when necessary
  • Making burial arrangements

About Conservatorships
A conservatorship is created by the appointment of a conservator by the Superior Court.  Once appointed by the court, a conservator serves as the manager for the financial and/or personal needs of an individual who is either physically or mentally incapable of meeting those needs independently.  A conservator may be a relative, friend, or any other person or entity including the Public Guardian.  The Public Guardian acts as a conservator when no other potential conservators or alternatives to conservatorship can be found.

Forms & Documents
Public Administrator/Public Guardian Brochure
Capacity Declaration/Conservatorship (GC-335)
Dementia Attachment to Capacity Delaration/Conservatorship (GC-335A)

Useful Links
Handbook for Conservators
Alzheimer's Association
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
California Community Care Licensing
California Courts Self-Help Center
Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California
Ombudsman of Ventura County
Tri-Counties Regional Center
Medicare, COBRA and More
Ventura County Area Agency on Aging
VC Bar Association - Lawyer Referral Service
Ventura County Superior Court - Legal Self Help
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