Conservatorships Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee

Life can be unpredictable. Sometimes, you may need to take legal action to protect a disabled loved one or a loved one who is abusing drugs. When a person can no longer care for themselves and handle their affairs on their own, they may need to rely on the protection of a family member or another caretaker.

Tennessee law allows courts to appoint a trusted individual (a conservator) to care for a person facing a mental, emotional, or physical disability—or drug addiction—and manage their affairs. Appointing a conservator to provide protection and care for another adult is called a “conservatorship.”

Attorney Frank Brazil, a conservatorship attorney at Brazil Clark, PLLC, helps clients overcome life’s unexpected challenges. The experienced attorney assists individuals in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as in Davidson, Rutherford, and surrounding counties with seeking a conservatorship for loved ones. If you are considering filing for a conservatorship, attorney Brazil will provide compassionate legal guidance and present you with the available options in your specific case. Schedule a case evaluation to discuss how you can move forward.

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What Is a Conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a court appoints an individual to make certain decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. When a conservatorship has been granted, the disabled person is considered the “ward,” while the person appointed by the court to manage the financial, medical, and personal affairs of the disabled person is called the “conservator.”

When Is It Necessary to File
for a Conservatorship?

If your loved one is suffering from a mental or physical disability, you may be looking for a way to have the legal authority to care for the loved one and manage their affairs. Filing for a conservatorship may be necessary when the disabled person—or the person addicted to drugs— has not created a power of attorney or another document that appoints a person who would care for them in the event of their incapacity.

After their appointment, conservators are responsible for managing the disabled person’s affairs and making decisions in the best interest of the ward. In most cases, a conservator is responsible for making financial, medical, and personal decisions on behalf of the person with a disability or drug abuse.

Types of Conservatorships 

Broadly speaking, there are two types of conservatorships:

  1. A full conservatorship. When a conservator is granted a full conservatorship, they have the authority to make all decisions on behalf of someone else. These decisions generally include those related to finances, healthcare, business, and legal matters. In addition, a conservator with full authority can also decide where the ward will live, what they will eat, and more.

  2. A limited conservatorship. As the name implies, a limited conservatorship refers to a conservatorship in which the conservator is responsible for making some—but not all— decisions about the ward’s life.

Tennessee also recognizes a third type of conservatorship: an emergency conservatorship. An emergency conservatorship can be granted by the court when a person is facing immediate harm to their safety, health, or welfare. When an emergency conservatorship is granted, the conservator’s authority cannot last for longer than 60 days. The court also has the discretion to remove the appointed emergency conservator when doing so is appropriate.

What Are the Duties of a Conservator?

A conservator has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the ward. A conservator must act in the way the ward would act if they were not addicted to drugs or suffering from mental health issues. When a conservator fails to fulfill their obligations as required under Tennessee law, they can be removed by the court for neglect, mismanagement, or abuse.

While each case is unique and the circumstances surrounding the ward’s incapacity vary from one case to another, some of the most common duties of a conservator include:

  • Making arrangements for the ward’s care and protection;

  • Making decisions regarding the ward’s living arrangements;

  • Deciding on the ward’s personal care, meals, healthcare, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs;

  • Seeking the court’s approval prior to making specific decisions that may have a substantial impact on the ward’s welfare;

  • Following court orders and complying with applicable laws; and

  • Reporting to the court on the ward’s status.

Individuals appointed as conservators often do not understand what their duties are and seek legal counsel to avoid missteps and liability.

Who Can File for a Conservatorship?

The first step to take with a conservatorship is filing a petition for the appointment of a conservator. In most cases, these petitions in Tennessee are filed in probate court. The court will consider two elements when granting a conservatorship:

  1. Proof that the individual needs protection; and

  2. Evidence showing that appointing a conservator would be the “least restrictive alternative” to protect a person with a disability or drug addiction.

Keep in mind that under Tennessee law, a conservatorship must be court-ordered. If the person is disabled because of a physical or mental impairment, the court will need medical proof before granting a conservatorship.

Conservatorship Attorneys Serving Nashville, Tennessee

The conservatorship attorneys at Brazil Clark, PLLC, provide legal advice and counsel to people considering filing for a conservatorship and those who were appointed as conservators. From his office in Nashville, Tennessee, Attorney Frank Brazil helps clients navigate the complex conservatorship laws and ensure that they can make informed decisions during the process. Discuss the specifics of your case by reaching out to Brazil Clark, PLLC.