The Public Administrator is an elected position in Cascade County government.
Unlike other elected offices in Cascade County, the Public Administrator collects no salary from Cascade County for the services performed. Instead, the Cascade County Public Administrator receives a small stipend to cover some of the monthly out-of-pocket costs incurred in running the elected office (i.e. telecommunications, fuel, office equipment). Because the Public Administrator does not have full-time duties, responsibilities, or a salary - serving in an "as needed" and "on call" capacity - the Public Administrator has private full-time employment separate from Cascade County government.
Only in those limited circumstances where a decedent's estate or an incapacitated person has funds will the Public Administrator receive compensation for the services provided. In those few instances, the Public Administrator may collect a statutory fee, which is accompanied by an accounting to the District Court and Court Order authorizing such fee.
Duties & Responsibilities
The primary duties and responsibilities of this elected office are specified at Montana Code Annotated at Title 72, Chapter 15. In general terms, the Public Administrator is required to take charge of estates of persons dying within Cascade County for which no administrators are appointed and that, due to a lack of administration, are being wasted, uncared for, or lost; estates of decedents who have no known heirs; estates ordered into the administrator's hands by the court; and estates upon which letters of administration have been issued to the administrator by the court.
In addition to responsibilities for decedent's estates, the Public Administrator may also be appointed by the Court under MCA Section 72-5-415 to serve as a conservator whenever a professional person has reason to believe that any person is in need of the appointment of a conservator for the effective management of the person's property or affairs and that the person has no relative, friend, or other appropriate person who is able and willing to serve as a conservator for the person.