FUNCTIONS OF THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR
Public Administrators are appointed by the Missouri Circuit Court, Probate Division, to serve primarily on four types of cases:
Guardian and/or conservator for individuals deemed incapacitated or disabled by a court
Personal representative of deceased estates and
Conservator of minor estates. However, the majority of appointments in any public administrator's office will be as guardian/conservator for incapacitated/disabled persons.
In all except three of Missouri's 114 counties, public administrators are elected to serve four-year terms. The counties of Jackson, St Louis and St Charles have the charter form of government and those public administrators are appointed by the Circuit Judges.
EXPLANATION OF TERMS
Guardianship is the legal process of assisting a person, whose mental disability has caused incompetence, in making decisions for herself/himself regarding personal affairs (such as place of residence and medical care). When a person has been adjudged by the Probate Court to be mentally incapacitated and incapable of making informed decisions without the risk of harm, then a guardian may be appointed. A person under guardianship is known as a ward.
Personal Representative a personal representative or legal personal representative is a person appointed by a court to administer the estate of another person. If the estate being administered is that of a deceased person, the personal representative is either an executor if the deceased person left a will or an administrator of an intestate estate.
Conservatorship deals only with the financial affairs of an individual. A conservator may be appointed by the Probate Court when an individual does not have the capacity to manage his or her financial affairs. A person under conservatorship is known as a protectee.
Trustee an individual person or member of a board given control or powers of administration of property in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.