Say that you have a loved one living in the San Fernando Valley while you and other family members live in other states. If that family member dies, and you and others are not immediately available to help handle his or her affairs, what happens? The scenario just described has happened to many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo have worked with. There are pressing matters that must be addressed upon your loved one's death that, if not dealt with promptly, could complicate the handling of his or her remains and even impact the value of his or her estate.
Fortunately, state law authorizes a public administrator to step in and see to those details if you or your loved one's personal representative are not available. Yet such an official must first be notified of the need for that assistance. If, for example, your loved one's body is handed over to a funeral home, the director of such a facility must attempt to make contact with his or her family in the following order:
- Adult children
- Adult Sibling
- Adult next of kin
Section 7600.6 of the California Probate Code states that if the funeral director is unable to get in touch with you or others, he or she must then initiate contact with the local public administrator.
The preceding section of the Probate Code also assigns the same responsibility to the administrator of the hospital or facility where your loved one died. If he or she fails to do so, he or she may be held liable to you and other beneficiaries for any losses your loved one's estate suffers due to his or her inaction.
More information on dealing with a loved one's death can be found here on our site.