Conservatorships are set up by the Court for those who cannot take care of their needs.
What if my family member didn’t have any Power of Attorney and is now not competent to sign one and can no longer manage their own affairs?
Having to ask the Court to establish a Conservatorship over a family member or friend is hard. However, often that person cannot receive the appropriate medical care or state benefits, unless someone is able to step in and legally help.
So when is a Conservatorship Needed?
1. If a disabled child has become a disabled adult, their parent can no longer legally make decisions for them. This leaves the parent unable to ensure their child will receive their state and/or health benefits. It also leaves the child vulnerable to other adults who may want to take advantage of him / her. In Tennessee, you as parents have the right to Petition the Court to become your child’s Conservator. The Court will review your child’s medical history then determine if a Conservatorship is warranted. If it is warranted the parent (or sometimes another family member) is appointed Conservator and can continue to make decisions for their child past the age of 18.
2. At other times, if a parent or both parents become disabled the child, another family member, or sometimes even a friend must be appointed to take care of a parent’s medical and financial decisions. Who becomes the Conservator can sometimes be a question to be litigated.
How is Conservatorship determined?
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. Ultimately, if there is a dispute, the Judge, after listening to the proof, decides who will be the Conservator. Once a Conservatorship is established, usually a bond will be posted to ensure the Conservator manages the ward’s money faithfully. Therefore, every year the Conservator will be required to account for the ward’s money to the Court. Annually, the Conservator may petition the court to be reimbursed for the time spent as Conservator. The Conservator must petition the Court to have attorney fees and bond fees reimbursed.
This process may seem daunting but can often be accomplished within a matter of weeks. In emergencies, it can be accomplished in hours. If you find yourself in this type of situation, please contact us.