Public Administrator

Goal for Churchill County Public Administration

The goal of the Public Administrator is to create and maintain a program that operates in accordance with the Nevada Revised Statutes. The Public Administrator will fairly, and efficiently, administer estates as required. The general public should have the confidence in the public administrator's role by knowing that all aspects of the program are accurate, honest, and respectful.

A Brief Introduction

The Churchill County Public Administrator is elected by the voters of Churchill County, to a term of four years. The Churchill County Public Administrator may administer a deceased person's estate in accordance with the Nevada Revised Statutes 253.

Generally speaking, the Public Administrator has the responsibility to administer the estates of those individuals who pass without the benefit of a will.

In accordance with state law, the District Court may appoint the Public Administrator to administer an estate when any of the following are determined:

  • There are no known heirs, or named executor
  • The District Court determines known heirs may not be qualified
  • The named Executor of an estate fails to act, or elects not to act
  • A will names the Public Administrator as the Executor

The Public Administrator works under the direction of the District Court. On a case-by-case basis, the District Court may assign the administration of an estate to the Public Administrator, or, any other qualified individual.

The Public Administrator has a two-fold responsibility:

  • Performs duties prior to the appointment by the District Court
  • Performs duties if appointed by the District Court

Prior to the appointment as Public Administrator:

The Public Administrator has the authority to act to secure property upon the death of the decedent as granted by NRS, Chapter 253 (NRS 253.0405). The Public Administrator may act when:

a) The Coroner, or law enforcement agency, or other authorized person, requests assistance when they are unable to immediately locate a qualified heir, or

b) One or more of the following conditions exist, and the Public Administrator determines action is warranted:

  • There are no known heirs
  • An executor has not yet been appointed by the Court
  • The named executor of the Last Will and Testament fails to act

Subsequent to the appointment as Public Administrator:

The Public Administrator has the authority to act and perform duties to finalize an estate, including, but not limited to:

  • Consultation with Mortuary professionals
  • Consultation with Attorneys, Accountants, or Enrolled Agents as needed
  • Consultation with residential real estate professionals, as needed
  • Consultation with Churchill County Social Services as needed
  • Inventory of personal property and real property
  • Coordination of the sale of personal property and real property, via auction, consignment, and/or other professional services
  • Coordination of the donation of property as per NRS 253.0407, if applicable
  • Coordination of the destruction of property as per NRS 253.0407, if applicable
  • Coordination of the cleaning of property via professional services, as needed
  • Bank account investigation and management
  • Other investigation and research as needed
  • Bill paying, and electronic bookkeeping
  • Court cooperation and appearances as required

Such further allowances may be made as the Court deems just and reasonable for any extraordinary services, pertaining to:

  • The management, sales or mortgages of specialized real property, or specialized personal property
  • The management of the decedent's business ventures or other commercial ventures
  • Contested or litigated claims against an estate
  • The adjustment and payments of extensive or complicated estate taxes
  • The cost of travel outside of Churchill County, to perform specific estate business
  • Such other litigation or special services as may be necessary for the Public Administrator to prosecute, defend or perform duties regarding an estate


The Public Administrator is entitled to be paid as other administrators or executors are paid for the reasonable value of his or her services performed in administering an estate. Compensation is approved and confirmed by the Churchill County Board of Commissioners (NRS 253.050)


The Public Administrator is an administrative office. The Public Administrator is not able to provide legal advice or tax advice. Members of the public looking for advice and consultation pertaining to law, legal matters, and tax planning should contact qualified attorneys and certified public accountants.