The mission of the Suffolk County Office of the Public Administrator is primarily to act as fiduciary for estates of deceased persons where, for various reasons, the nominated executors and/or closest relatives cannot act or have been removed as executor or administrator. Most commonly, this occurs when the decedent's closest relatives are remote and their identity and/or whereabouts remain unknown, even after diligent inquiry by this office. In that situation, this office is required by statute to administer the estate.
The appointment of this office as fiduciary is by decree of the Suffolk County Surrogate's Court. The Court may also appoint this office to act as trustee of an estate or guardian of the property of an infant or incapacitated person in certain situations.
In its role as court appointed fiduciary, the Public Administrator's office marshals and secures the real and personal property of decedents. The property is distributed by decree of the Surrogate's Court after the Office of the Public Administrator files its final account.
The Office of the Public Administrator also assists in the burial arrangements for persons who fail to make such arrangements during their life or via a will and who are not survived by known relatives.