Conservatorship

Reduce the emotional and financial toll of the conservator process with a team of experienced attorneys.

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Conservatorship Attorney Services in Nashville, TN

The conservatorship process can be lengthy and expensive. At Elder Law of Nashville PLC, we want to make sure that our clients avoid this expensive process by drafting and helping our clients sign durable powers of attorney for health and financial matters. If the process cannot be avoided, however,  our team of experienced attorneys have the litigation and conservatorship experience that can lower the emotional and financial toll as a conservator is appointed to advocate and care for your loved one.

What is a Conservator?

Conservators are persons who have been ordered by a court to look after, manage and execute on someone’s personal estate if that person has become incapacitated to do so. This is most common in the event of grave illness or an accident that has made the management of an estate impossible for the person to handle due to their health situation. Family members could go to court to ask a judge to select a person to handle this responsibility. We encourage our clients to plan ahead for these events, so this sort of decision doesn’t fall on family members during difficult times or create animosity among them.

Conservator of the Estate or Person
Some situations call for the separation of conservator powers. This typically happens when one person manages an individual’s legal and financial affairs while another person handles the individual’s healthcare needs. One person can be awarded conservator powers for both roles as well, but both are determined by a court and they are responsible to the court to carry out those responsibilities. A Nashville conservator lawyer can assist in either of these situations.
The Disadvantages of Conservatorships

The management of someone else’s life can result in personal time being lost and scrutiny from a court. All aspects of management can be reviewed through the legal process and require a significant amount of record keeping and legal paperwork filings. This constant back and forth can also become expensive since a conservator attorney in Nashville will be needed each time you have to handle the legal side of estate management. These court filings are also a means of public record, which might not sit well with a family who values privacy. Outside eyes can seek to learn more about the personal effects and affairs of the incapacitated individual.

Any significant decisions that a conservator attempts to make for the estate or person, has to be cleared with the courts first. For example, the selling of a home, the sale of an asset or healthcare complications. This is to ensure that the desires of the estate are being appropriately handled and there is no mismanagement taking place. Conservators are also charged with posting bond regularly to protect the estate from complications or misdeeds. These bonds are typically paid out of the assets of the conservatee.

Conservatorship Avoidance
While not usually, a conservator can mismanage an estate either on purpose or by accident. The only way to avoid this sort of mismanagement is to work with a Nashville conservator attorney who makes other arrangments in the estate planning process before a tragedy hits. This way, if something does happen, the person that was hand-chosen by the incapacitated individual can step into their role immediately.
Conservator Court Process

Anyone within the realm of family and friends can object to a conservator taking over an estate or object to the person chosen for this role. This action can be blocked by using a conservator lawyer in Nashville who can file the appropriate paperwork. This will alert all parties involved which will trigger legal proceedings and a court hearing.

At the hearing, a judge will ask to hear about the evidence to support why a conservatorship isn’t either desired or that the person chosen is not appropriate for the job. The judge will take that evidence and make a determination as to whether or not a conservatorship is necessary, if another plan has been presented, or if the person chosen can handle the responsibilities. At times, more than one person may seek to be conservator over an estate, in this event the judge will first adhere to the state laws regarding the situation. Most often, the court gives preferential responsibility to the living spouse for this role, or blood-related children, or family members.

If inadequate evidence is presented for a family member, the judge will opt to appoint a non-relative for the responsibility which can make a tragic situation harder for the family. Again, the most reasonable way to handle this sort of situation is work with an estate planning attorney in Nashville so you can avoid a conservatorship altogether.

Compensation for Conservators

The responsibility of a conservator is a paid role where funds from the incapacitated individual will be paid to the conservator for the management of the estate or their healthcare. This is usually the case with professional conservators, but a family member can ask the court to make funds available to them as well.
Not all conservatorships require a payment situation in order to execute the desires of the conservatee. Their role is to manage the person’s estate until some other health event transpires, such as recovery or death.

Can The Elder Law Offices of Nashville assist you in a conservatorship proceeding? If you want to seek this role or need someone to step into this role, we can help. Please contact us today and let’s explore the right path for your situation.

How does the conservatorship process work in Tennessee?
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 Respondent resists, the Court appoints a third lawyer as the “Attorney ad Litem” to present the Respondent’s wishes and arguments in Court.

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Planning

Guidance

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