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What if my family member didn’t have any Power of Attorneys, is now not competent to sign one and can no longer manage their own affairs?

Being in a position to have to ask the Court to establish a Conservatorship over a family member or friend is hard. However, often that person can not receive the appropriate medical care or state benefits, unless someone is able to step in and legally help them.

Conservatorships are set up by the Court for those that can not take care of their own needs.

There are usually two situations where a Conservatorship is needed.

A disabled child becomes a disabled adult and their parent can technically no longer make decisions for them. This leaves the parent unable to insure their child receives their state and/or health benefits. It also leaves the children vulnerable to other adults who may want to take advantage of them. 

In Tennessee, parents have the right to Petition the Court to become their children’s Conservator. The Court will review the child’s medical history and determine if a Conservatorship is warranted. If it is, the parent (or sometimes another family member) is appointed Conservator and can continue to make decisions for their children past the age of 18.

At other times, a parent becomes disabled and a family member, child or sometimes even a friend must be appointed to take care of their medical and financial decisions. Who becomes the Conservator can sometimes be a question that is to be litigated.

That law in Tennessee sets out a list of people who may be Conservator and sometimes someone on the list may not be the right person to be the Conservator. Ultimately, if there is a dispute, the Judge, after listening to proof, decides who will be the Conservator.   Once a conservatorship is established, usually a bond will have to be posted to insure the Conservator manages the ward’s money faithfully. And every year the Conservator will be required to account for the wards money to the Court. The Conservator may also petition the court to be reimbursed, each year, for the time they have spent as Conservator. They may also petition the Court to have their attorney fees and bond fees reimbursed.

The process may seem daunting but can often be accomplished within a matter of weeks and in emergencies, it can be accomplished in hours.