Donna Underwood, Public Administrator


   Welcome to the McDonald County Public Administrator’s web page. I hope that this page will give you helpful information about the Public Administrator and what the responsibilities of the Public Administrator’s office are.

The Public Administrator is appointed by the Missouri Circuit Court, Probate Division, to serve in these types of cases:

  1. Guardian and/or Conservator of mentally disabled persons
  2. Conservator of estates that have been judged to be disabled or incapacitated
  3. Personal Representative of deceased estates
The majority of the cases handled by my office consist of Guardianship/Conservatorship of mentally disabled persons. All of Missouri’s 114 counties have public administrators. In all but three of those counties the Public Administrator is 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.

DEFINITIONS:

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.

GUARDIANSHIP/CONSERVATORSHIP PROCESS:

All Guardianships/Conservatorships go through the Probate Court system.

   The first step is to petition the Probate court. Any person interested may file a petition for the appointment of a guardian/conservator, either naming themselves or any other qualified person to be the guardian/conservator. The petition should be filed with the Probate Court in the county in which the incapacitated person is a resident. An attorney is not always needed to file the petition, but one will be necessary for the court hearing.

   The first step is to petition the Probate court. Any person interested may file a petition for the appointment of a guardian/conservator, either naming themselves or any other qualified person to be the guardian/conservator. The petition should be filed with the Probate Court in the county in which the incapacitated person is a resident. An attorney is not always needed to file the petition, but one will be necessary for the court hearing.

   At the time of the court hearing, the person filing the petition must present evidence to demonstrate why the individual needs a guardian and/or a conservator and to what degree that person is incapacitated or disabled. Medical evidence is required - physicians can usually present a written medical report or a Medical Certificate without having to appear in person.

   The court costs of the proceeding are established by law. If a person is declared incapacitated, his estate will pay the costs. If the estate does not contain sufficient funds, the county is required to pay. If the person is not found to be incapacitated, the petitioner must pay the costs.

AS YOUR MCDONALD COUNTY PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR

   I assume many responsibilities as Guardian/Conservator, including making necessary medical decisions, arranging and maintaining housing, handling finances and being a primary support system for all of my wards.I currently have 89 wards that I take care of, living in a variety of housing situations all around the state of Missouri.I am available to my wards 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and am always reachable by phone, either in my office or by my cellular phone.I have been in office since 1999.

Regular office hours are: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(But I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.)

My office is located at 814 King Ave Pineville, Mo 64856

My office phone number is: 417-223-7333

My Fax number is: 417-223-4999

My mailing address is:
Public Administrator
P.O. Box 758
Pineville, MO 64856
My email address is: publicadmin@mcdonaldcounty.net