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Conservatorships Attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee

In situations where your loved one can no longer care for themselves, it may be best to appoint someone to assist them. If your elderly loved one is unable to manage their affairs and has not established a durable power of attorney, setting up a conservatorship may be the most suitable course of action.

If you have questions about conservatorships in Tennessee, don't hesitate to reach out to me—Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law in Knoxville. I can discuss your options with you and ensure the protection of your loved one and their financial interests.  

What Is A Conservatorship? 

A conservatorship is a legal authority granted by the court to a person (the conservator) to manage the affairs of someone (referred to as the respondent, ward, or conservatee) who can no longer handle their affairs or care for themselves. To establish a conservatorship, the court must determine that the intended respondent is disabled, has a mental illness, or is struggling with drug addiction or other dependency issues, and that they require a conservator to make decisions on their behalf. This becomes especially significant if the respondent did not appoint a financial or healthcare power of attorney before becoming incapacitated.  

Typically, conservators are relatives, such as spouses, siblings, or adult children. A conservator must regularly report to the court about decisions made regarding the well-being of the respondent. Certain actions, like deciding to discontinue life support, require the court's permission. 

A conservatorship can terminate when the respondent regains control over their faculties and the court deems them no longer in need of a conservator. Alternatively, it can end upon the respondent's passing or when there are no more assets to manage in cases of financial conservatorship. 

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Types of Conservatorship 

Full Conservatorship: A full conservatorship grants the conservator the legal authority to make a wide range of decisions for the respondent, including financial and medical decisions. Other decisions the conservator may have authority over include the right to get a driver’s license or vote, the right to enter into a marriage, and the right to decide where to live.  

Limited Conservatorship: A limited conservatorship only confers authority over certain decisions in the respondent’s life.  

Conservators can also be named conservators “of the person” or conservators “of the property.” Both types may be needed, or only one. The “conservator of the person” is responsible for all healthcare decisions relating to the respondent, while a “conservator of the property” handles financial and real estate matters. One person can serve in both roles.  

What Are the Duties of a Conservator? 

Overall, the duties of the conservator are to act in the best interest of the respondent when making financial or medical decisions.  

If the respondent has drug abuse or addiction problems, the conservator—as well as being responsible for managing the respondent’s money properly—should also be responsible for finding adequate medical treatment or rehabilitative programs for the respondent.

In cases where the conservatorship is rooted in the respondent's need for care due to a mental health condition or mental impairment, the conservator can be responsible for arranging or consenting to medical or mental health treatments and deciding whether placement in a facility is necessary. Costs associated with the conservatorship should be covered from the respondent's estate. 

Who Can File For A Conservatorship? 

Anyone can file for a conservatorship, provided that they can present proof to the court that a conservatorship is needed (usually by medical records and a statement signed by a health professional). The respondent can request a specific conservator. Priority to act as conservator is most likely to be given to the respondent’s spouse, children, or any other immediate relative, although the respondent may request that the conservator be a close friend or associate, and the court can also appoint a conservator of their choosing (such as a district public guardian).  

No matter how you decide to proceed, it’s vital to reach out to an estate planning attorney for guidance. 

Conservatorships Attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee

Whether you have decided to file for a conservatorship or you simply want to discuss whether your loved one may need a conservatorship, reach out to me at Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law. I can go over your options and advise you on the best way to proceed based on your family’s unique set of circumstances. With over a decade of experience in the area of estate planning, I’m prepared to offer compassionate support. I proudly serve clients in Knoxville, Farragut, Clinton, and Knox County, Tennessee.