The Personal Property Services is a small support unit within the Offices of the Public Administrator/Public Guardian. The unit consists of two employees: (1) Storekeeper and (1) Estate Inventory Clerk. Each member of this unit receives training in the management and handling of personal property. The units’ main function is to travel to different locations throughout the County of Orange and surrounding counties to secure client property.
When a resident of the County of Orange is referred for care to the Public Administrator/Guardian office and it is found that this person has personal belongings, vehicle or a house full of property, the Personal Property Services staff is alerted and sent out to retrieve these items. The unit heads out accompanied by a neutral third party person to act as witness and the property is retrieved, inventoried and brought back to a secure warehouse located in Santa Ana, CA. Each item is tagged and numbered to insure accurate tracking. Once these items are checked into the system, they are placed into large wooden vaults for storage. Not all items that are brought into the warehouse end up in vault storage. Some client’s property is only brought in for a short term period or until the client finds a new place to live.
The Personal Property Services Unit receives a referral of a deceased case as well. The inventory process is the same. The property is inventoried and brought back for storage. These items are brought in for safe keeping even if the deceased has family. Decedents’ property is more at risk to be victimized by thieves or other opportunists. The residence is secured and local law enforcement is notified of the Public Administrators’ involvement with these types of cases.
Once all the property is inventoried and removed for the residence the next step would be to clear the residence of all no-value contents. These are items that have no resale value i.e. open food items, dirty/soiled clothing, damaged furniture, house hold chemicals and any trash/debris. The Personal Property Services Staff will arrange vendors who specialize in this field to bid for the job. This process is done for all properties remaining under the care of the Public Administrator/Guardian.
The property in storage is constantly being evaluated and values are calculated since these items are subject to storage fee. A drayage fee is charged when the property is originally brought into the PA/PG warehouse, with storage fees calculated on a daily basis. The length of storage time differs from case to case. In some cases the property is released within days of arrival and other storage may stay longer. In some cases the property in storage is sold to help pay for the client’s case.
The sale of client’s property is handled by the Personal Property Services Unit. Sealed bid sales are held at the PA/PG warehouse in Santa Ana once every three months. The property designated for sale is staged in lots and sold to the highest bidder. The auction is open to the public. All vehicles and other items of interest are sold online using GovDeals.com, which is a third party vendor contracted to list these items on their website. The website is available to the public to view and bid on any property listed, minus firearms. Firearms sales are limited to licensed firearm dealers.