Close up photo of oxycodone opioid tablets

Opioid Epidemic & Conservatorship Options for Loved Ones 

Brazil Clark, PLLC Dec. 26, 2022

In Tennessee, conservatorship allows the court to appoint a competent adult to manage the personal, financial, and medical affairs of a disabled or incapacitated adult. However, the conservatorship isn’t only limited to adults who are mentally or physically incapacitated. 

A person dealing with drug abuse, dependency, or alcohol addiction may also seek conservatorship. This way, the Tennessee court can appoint a competent person to help make their medical and financial decisions while they recover or work towards sobriety. A seasoned Tennessee conservatorship attorney can help you understand the conservatorship options for individuals with addiction issues. 

Brazil Clark, PLLC is dedicated to offering experienced legal services and comprehensive guidance to clients in adult guardianship and conservatorship-related matters. Attorney Frank Brazil and his trusted legal team can enlighten you about how conservatorship can assist a person dealing with opioid abuse and explore your possible legal options. The firm is proud to represent clients across Nashville and Rutherford County, Tennessee. 

Overview of the Opioid Problem in Tennessee  

Opioids include substances manufactured with chemicals used for pain relief or sedation. Some common examples of opioids include Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (OxyContin), Heroin, Methadone, Morphine, Oxymorphone (Opana), and Fentanyl. These substances are illegal, highly addictive, and may cause fatal overdose or death when misused or abused. 

In recent times, Tennessee has been massively hit by the opioid epidemic. In fact, statistics from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) indicate that nearly 70,000 residents of The Volunteer State are addicted to opioids. The state is currently witnessing epidemic levels of drug addiction, opioid overdoses, and even deaths. 

Furthermore, individuals dealing with opioid abuse or addiction are often advised to seek adequate treatment and support. This may include getting a reliable person to help manage their finances and ensure that they do not waste money on drugs and other harmful substances. 

When Is a Conservatorship Appropriate?  

Conservatorship is often appropriate when a person is unable to make informed decisions about their personal affairs, health, and finances. In such situations, the Tennessee court can legally appoint a competent adult to help them make these decisions. 

However, conservatorship must be ordered by the court and may require medical proof. Also, the court may appoint a friend, attorney, neighbor, public guardian, nurse, health professional, social worker, or another competent and qualified person to serve as the patient’s conservator.  

Who Can Be a Conservator? 

Additionally, Tennessee courts may appoint any individual or entity to serve as a conservator based on the order below: 

  • A person named by the ward to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf. 

  • The ward’s spouse 

  • The ward’s adult child 

  • A close relative of the ward 

  • A district public guardian 

  • Any other competent person that is able, willing, and considered suitable by the court 

An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the benefits of conservatorship and help you decide if your loved one needs one. 

The Benefits of a Conservatorship  

When a person is dealing with opioid abuse, drug addiction, or dependency, seeking conservatorship can help achieve the following: 

  • Oversee the health care and make medical decisions 

  • Prevent mismanagement or waste of finances on drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances 

  • Find a suitable rehabilitation center and make adequate arrangements for substance abuse treatment 

  • Monitor purchases made by the conservatee 

  • Manage the protected person’s investments, business, and property 

  • Pay for the protected person’s medical or rehab bills 

Essentially, conservatorship remains an incredible tool to help individuals suffering from opioid abuse get the help and treatment they need. A trusted lawyer can enlighten you about the legal processes involved in seeking conservatorship based on drug abuse. 

Filing for a Conservatorship Based on Drug Abuse  

Here are the steps involved in getting a conservatorship in Tennessee for a loved one with substance abuse issues: 

  • Hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. 

  • File a petition seeking conservatorship with the court in the county where the protected person lives. 

  • Provide a report from the physician, psychologist, or medical examiner. 

  • The court will appoint a “Guardian ad Litem” to conduct an investigation and make recommendations. 

  • A hearing will be scheduled where the judge will make a final decision based on “the best interest standard”. 

However, the court will review conservatorship every year, and the conservator may be removed when the ward shows signs of significant improvement. A seasoned attorney can walk you through the legal processes involved in seeking conservatorship and help you navigate key decisions. 

Turn to Brazil Clark, PLLC, for Guidance  

Establishing conservatorship for a person with opioid abuse issues can be tricky and may involve several complex procedures. Nonetheless, appointing a conservator can be of great benefit to the patient, ensuring they do not waste finances on illicit drugs. The attorneys at Brazil Clark, PLLC, have devoted their careers to advising and guiding clients through the complexities involved in seeking conservatorship when addiction is involved. 

As your legal counsel, they can evaluate your unique situation and help determine whether your loved one needs a conservator. In addition, they will help file a petition requesting conservatorship and represent you diligently at the court hearing. Attorney Frank Brazil and his reliable team will work together with the appointed conservator and help make decisions that will be in the ward’s best interest. 

Are you seeking conservatorship for a loved one dealing with opioid abuse? Contact Brazil Clark, PLLC, today to schedule a simple consultation with dependable conservatorship lawyers. Attorney Frank Brazil and his dedicated team can offer you the reliable advocacy and personalized legal guidance you need to navigate key decisions. The firm is proud to represent clients across Nashville and Rutherford County, Tennessee.