14-5606. Additional powers and duties of the public fiduciary
A. If the gross assets of the estate exceed twenty thousand dollars, the
public fiduciary may file with the court a verified petition to preserve and protect
estate property if action is needed to protect an estate but no probate proceedings
have been filed and no affidavit of collection has been tendered pursuant to section
14-3971. The petition shall include the following:
1. The name and domicile of the decedent.
2. The date and the place of death.
3. The names, addresses and relationships of known heirs or devisees.
4. A declaration that the gross assets of the estate are believed to exceed
twenty thousand dollars.
5. A declaration that the decedent died in the county or left real or personal
property in the county or that personal property arrived in the county after the
6. A declaration that there is no person eligible to act as personal
representative or that the personal representative named in the will has refused or
neglected to act, is dead or his whereabouts are unknown or is not eligible to
receive letters testamentary at the present time.
7. A declaration that immediate action is necessary to make funeral
arrangements and pay reasonable funeral charges or to preserve and protect the
B. The court may grant the petition and enter an order without prior notice
and a hearing on a finding of good cause.
C. If the court grants the petition, the public fiduciary shall send a copy of
the petition and the court order to each known heir, devisee and interested party
within ten business days of entry of the order.
D. If the court grants the petition, the public fiduciary may take the following
action unless otherwise limited by the court:
1. Take possession of, collect and secure the decedent's real or personal
property located in the county.
2. Make necessary funeral arrangements for the decedent and pay the
reasonable funeral charges.
3. Institute an inquiry as to any matter affecting the estate of the decedent.
4. Sell perishable property and other property of the decedent if the estate
requires this action.
5. Defray the expenses of the fiduciary activities and the expenses incidental
to the public fiduciary's application for letters from the decedent's estate.
6. Pursuant to section 14-5103, for the use and benefit of a minor heir or
devisee who has no guardian, pay the share of an intestate estate or a devise due
that person if that share is less than five thousand dollars.
7. Without prior court order, sell real or personal property with an estimated
value of less than five thousand dollars if this is necessary to pay reasonable funeral
expenses or to preserve and protect the assets of the estate and preven t waste.
8. With prior court order and on reasonable notice to interested parties, sell
real or personal property with an estimated net value of five thousand dollars or
more if this is necessary to preserve and protect the assets of the estate and
E. The public fiduciary may obtain subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum
from the court in order to conduct the inquiry under subsection D, paragraph 3 of
this section. The court may hold a person in contempt if the person fails to comply
with the subpoena.
F. The expenses under subsection D, paragraph 5 of this section are a legal
charge against the county if the decedent's estate is incapable of paying them.
G. On receiving notice of the appointment of a personal representative of the
estate or on receiving valid affidavits for succession to real or personal property, the
public fiduciary shall immediately transfer to the personal representative or affiant the
control and possession of the property. The public fiduciary may subtract any monies
claimed as fiduciary fees and costs pursuant to section 14-5604. The public fiduciary
shall file an accounting and claim for fees with the court and shall send copies by
certified mail to the personal representative or the affiant and known heirs, devisee s
and interested parties. If no objections are filed with the court within thirty days of
this notice, the court without further notice or hearing may approve and settle the
account, approve claims by the public fiduciary against the estate and discharge the
public fiduciary from further duties and liability.
H. A person paying, delivering, transferring or issuing property or evidence of
property is discharged and released to the same extent as if that person dealt with a
personal representative of the decedent.
I. The public fiduciary may begin an action to probate the decedent's estate
if probate has not begun or an affidavit of succession to real and personal property
is not submitted at least forty days after the public fiduciary files the petition to
preserve and protect the estate.
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