Conservatorships in Tennessee
In certain situations establishing conservatorships in Tennessee is the best way to protect vulnerable loved ones. In Tennessee a conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a judge removes decision-making powers and duties from a person with disabilities (called a “ward”) who is age 18 or older and lacks capacity to make decisions in one or more important areas of life.
The judge transfers the decision-making powers and duties to a person, persons or entity (called a “conservator”) who exercises these powers and duties on behalf of the ward.
The ward’s decision-making powers and duties may be removed in whole or in part. This can affect the ward’s right to make financial, health and other personal decisions. When conservatorships in Tennessee are needed, the remedy imposed by the judge must be the least restrictive alternative available to adequately protect the ward and the ward’s property. A conservator is required to make decisions in the best interest of the ward and as ordered by the judge.
The conservator is accountable to the judge for his or her decisions and actions in handling matters for the ward. Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the conservator must report to the judge annually concerning the status of the ward and the financial activity of the conservatorship. The conservator can also be required to obtain approval of the judge before carrying out certain major decisions such as relocating the ward, selling real estate, and changing the way the ward’s assets are invested or spent.
Each and every family’s situation is unique and should be examined individually to determine whether a conservatorship proceeding is necessary or if any alternative methods may first be utilized and, if so, whether the use of such alternatives is the best approach in dealing with a disabled person.
Andra Hedrick is an attorney with GSRM. She routinely assists individuals and families throughout the entire state of Tennessee in setting up conservatorships for their loved ones. Andra regularly appears in probate court in contested and uncontested cases involving conservatorships, estates and trusts.