Public Administrator

Office of the Public Admistrator:

The Public Administrator for each of Illinois’ 102 counties is a State official, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate for 4-year terms of office, pursuant to §13-1 of the Illinois Probate Code (755 ILCS 5/13-1).
The function of the Public Administrator in each county is to protect, probate and administer the Estates of deceased residents of the county (and of non-Illinoisans whose estates include assets in the county) that otherwise would remain un-administered due to a lack of available family or designated-by-will persons to serve as executor or administrator.
For such persons’ estates, the Public Administrator (together initially with the Medical Examiner’s Office in Cook County) arranges for burial, protects the estate property from loss or theft, investigates to find assets of the decedent, investigates to find and contact heirs who may be entitled to inherit from the Estate, liquidates Estate assets as appropriate, pays the debts and taxes of the decedent, and insures that the appropriate legatees and heirs receive their proper inheritances.   When heirs are discovered but cannot be found, their inheritances are deposited with the County Treasurer in their names, and are available for recovery by the heirs within 7 years.  Unclaimed inheritances, and Estates where there are no heirs or legatees, go to the Cook County Treasury (as an “escheat” under State law).
All Estates administered by the Public Administrator are supervised by the Circuit Court in the same manner and subject to the same probate laws that govern privately-administered estates.   The Public Administrator is a fiduciary office, and is legally required to preserve and account for all assets committed to his or her custody and must act in the best interest of the administered Estates.

Biographical Sketch: David A. Epstein

David A. Epstein was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn in March 2014.  A native Chicagoan, Mr. Epstein was born on LaSalle Street, raised in Hyde Park, and resides in Lincoln Park with his wife of 30+ years, Susan K. Gordy (Epstein).

Mr. Epstein is a proud graduate of Bret Harte School (of the CPS)(1956), the Laboratory High School (of the University of Chicago)(“U-High”)(1960), the University of Illinois (at Urbana-Champaign) (B.S. 1965)(Liberal Arts & Science, Chemistry), and the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D. 1968).   He has also attended or taken courses at the University of Chicago (graduate school), Roosevelt University, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell University, which treat him as an alumnus for contribution purposes.

An attorney by profession, Mr. Epstein has practiced law in Chicago and downstate since 1968, and has tried and argued cases in state and federal courts, including the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.   He is currently Of Counsel to Brown, Udell, Pomerantz & Delrahim, Ltd. in Lincoln Park in Chicago.

Mr. Epstein’s prior public service includes:

Illinois Legislative Staff Intern (1968-1969) (under House Minority Leader John P. Touhy);
(Elected to the Legislative Intern Hall of Fame, 2003)

Counsel,  Democratic Staff, Illinois House of Representatives (1969-1982)
(Under Min. Leaders John P. Touhy, Clyde L. Choate, Michael J. Madigan)

Parliamentarian, Illinois House of Representatives (1975-1981)
(Under Speaker William A. Redmond)

Village Attorney, Village of Wheeling, Illinois (1977-1982)

Judge, Illinois Court of Claims (1993-2003)
(Appointed by Gov. Jim Edgar, retired by Gov. Rod Blogojevich)

Illinois Public Administrators for Cook County (years served)
James O’Keefe 1960-1968
Thomas Chuhak 1969-1974
Samual Betar 1974–1978
Thomas Chuhak 1978-1990
Louis G. Apostol 1991-2003
Michael I. Bender 2004-2008
Nicholas G. Grapsas 2008-2013
David A. Epstein 2013-2017