Public Administrators are appointed by the Missouri Circuit Court, Probate Division, to serve primarily on three types of cases:
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.
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.
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.