When a person has become incapacitated due to mental illness, medical disability, or advancing age, sometimes it is appropriate for the court to appoint a conservator who is granted the authority to manage the person’s personal, health, and/or financial affairs and to make decisions for that person in those areas based upon his or her best interest.
A conservatorship may be initiated by filing a petition in the appropriate court in the proposed ward’s county of residence. It is necessary to file a sworn physician’s report along with the petition if the proposed ward has been examined within ninety days prior to filing. Otherwise, the court will order that the proposed ward have a medical examination during the case, the report of which will be made a part of the court record and will assist the judge in making a determination regarding whether the establishment of a conservatorship is appropriate.
Typically, the judge will appoint a Guardian ad litem–a person who is tasked with representing the proposed ward’s best interests throughout the case. In some circumstances, the judge will will also appoint an Attorney ad litem when the proposed ward communicates opposition to the establishment of a conservatorship, opposition to the proposed conservator, or is unable to communicate his or her wishes.
If you are considering a conservatorship for a family member or loved one, it is recommended that you discuss your options with a lawyer who understands conservatorship practice and has experience handling complex conservatorship matters. At Sobieski, Messer & Elledge, we have decades of experience representing clients in conservatorship matters. Our experienced Tennessee conservatorship attorneys know the legal process and can help formulate a plan to minimize costs and help navigate the sensitive issues sometimes associated with managing or removing the legal rights of a loved one.