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Under Tennessee law, when someone becomes incapacitated, a family member or other interested adult must go to probate court and file a petition for a conservator to be appointed. The petition must attach a sworn statement by a physician who has seen the disabled person (“the “Respondent”) in the preceding 90 days and who states that a conservator is needed to protect the person or property of the Respondent. The court appoints another lawyer (the “Guardian ad Litem”) to investigate the affairs of the Respondent and report back. If the petition is contested the court will set a hearing. If the Respondent resists, the Court appoints a third lawyer as the “Attorney ad Litem” to present the Respondent’s wishes and arguments in Court.
As you can see, the conservatorship process can be an expensive one—just count up the lawyers. It can also be a lengthy process and, even if the conservatorship is uncontested, will require filing accountings, inventories and other
At Elder Law of Nashville, P.L.C. we want to make sure that our clients avoid this expensive process, if possible, by making sure that our clients have signed durable powers of attorney for health and financial matters. If the process cannot be avoided, however, we can represent you in making sure that a conservator is appointed to advocate and care for your loved one. Ms. Moss at Elder Law of Nashville PLC, has an extensive background in litigation in general, and conservatorships specifically. Her experience can lower the emotional and financial toll if a conservatorship is needed. Contact us if you need help in this area!
When Should I Seek a Conservatorship?
You will not be caught up in the expensive process of getting a conservatorship through the courts if your family member has signed a power of attorney. If they haven’t, your family may be forced to go through the court system in order to help him or her. The good news is that it is not too late for a power of attorney even if your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Capacity to sign documents is not based on diagnosis, but rather on functional abilities. If your family member knows you, knows basically what they own and understands what a contract is, they will still be able to sign powers of attorney. People in the early or mid-stages of dementia frequently retain these abilities.
If there are no powers of attorney signed and if your loved one has lost the capacity to sign them, Its time to consider a conservatorship.
If you or a loved one has become ill, incapacitated, or if you need to make plans for the future, speak with a lawyer familiar with drafting durable power of attorneys. He or she can ensure that your family and wishes are honored. Elder Law of Nashville PLC assists families who need help with power of attorneys or conservatorships in Nashville, TN.
Contact us if you need help in this area!