Bureau of Audit
Audit Report on the Financial and Operating Practices of Queens County Public Administrator’s OfficeFN12-075A
June 18, 2012
AUDIT REPORT IN BRIEF
Download the Complete Report (pdf 95 KB)
The objective of this audit was to determine whether the Queens County Public Administrator (QCPA) properly executed its fiduciary responsibilities and managed the estate activities in accordance with Article 11 of the New York State Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act (SCPA), and other applicable State and City laws, rules, and regulations. There are five Public Administrators (PAs) in New York City, each of whom serves one of the City's five counties and reports to the county Surrogate's Court. Each PA is responsible for administering the estates of individuals in the county who die intestate (those who die without a will) or when no other appropriate individual is willing or qualified to administer the estate.
The QCPA is responsible for administering the estates of individuals in Queens who die intestate (those who die without a will) or when no other appropriate individual is willing or qualified to administer the estate. As the estate administrator, the QCPA makes funeral arrangements, collects debts, pays creditors, manages the decedents’ assets, searches for possible heirs, and files tax returns on behalf of the decedents.
As of June 30, 2011, the QCPA maintained 2,389 open estates with assets valued at more than $93.5 million. The June 30, 2011, City Comptroller’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, reported for QCPA $1,562,998 in revenues collected on behalf of the City and $425,439 in appropriations received from the City consisting of $417,654 for Personal Service expenditures and $7,785 for Other Than Personal Service expenditures.
Audit Findings and Conclusions
The QCPA generally adheres to the administrative requirements of the SCPA, the Administrative Board for the Offices of the Public Administrator (Administrative Board Guidelines), and its own internal guidelines and procedures for managing the estates. The QCPA generally:
- Maintains a central record of all the estates it manages. In addition, each estate valued at more than $500 is separately accounted for as required by the SCPA.
- Maintains accurate records of receipts and disbursements including supporting documentation such as invoices, bills from creditors, and proof of claims.
- Ensures bank deposits in excess of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance limit were properly covered by the appropriate bank collateral.
- Files the required monthly and semi-annual reports with the Surrogate’s Court, State Comptroller’s Office, and City Comptroller’s Office.
- Ensures that an independent CPA audit is conducted annually. In the June 30, 2011, independent CPA audit report, the auditors concluded that “In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Queens County Public Administrator as of June 30, 2011, and the changes in its assets for the year then ended.”
Additionally, our review noted that the QCPA implemented the recommendations of our prior audit report.
In its response, QCPA stated, “The Public Administrator of Queens County has no objection or comment to the audit as proposed.”