Conservatorships | Estate Planning | Tressler & Associates
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Conservatorships

We all want what’s best for our loved ones, and ensuring that they’re protected and cared for can sometimes require a little extra work. If you have a loved one with a disability who is unable to care for themselves and make important decisions, you may be worried about their wellbeing. However, there is a way that you or someone else with your loved one’s best interests at heart can be appointed to manage their affairs for them. Applying for a conservatorship can give you the opportunity to make decisions on behalf of your loved one and ensure they’re cared for. 

Understanding and applying for conservatorships can be complicated, and you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your loved one having the support they need. The estate planning attorneys at Tressler & Associates can walk you through this process if you believe your loved one is in need of a conservatorship. 

How Does a Conservatorship Work?

A conservatorship gives someone, the conservator, control over specific aspects of the life of an adult who cannot make their own decisions or care for themselves, known as the conservatee or ward. When a person with a disability requires a conservatorship, the court must ensure that they receive adequate protection while also considering the least restrictive alternatives. Anyone, including the conservatee, may challenge a conservatorship, and it is possible for one to be modified or ended. 

Anyone can apply to be a conservator, but the court does give preference to certain people. For example, the conservatee may have previously listed someone as their power of attorney, so the court will likely look to them first. If the conservatee did not select a power of attorney, their spouse will get preference, followed by their children, and next of kin if the spouse and children are unavailable. Non-family members may also be considered. Of course, the court must decide whether or not a person is capable of serving as a conservator. 

When is a Conservatorship Needed?

Having a mental or physical disability doesn’t mean that a person requires a conservatorship. A conservatorship is necessary when a person is unable to make sound decisions, such as those that can impact their life and wellbeing, like medical and financial decisions. When someone applies for a conservatorship, the judge must determine if a conservatorship is necessary and who would best serve as the conservator. 

If someone believes a vulnerable person requires a conservatorship, they must file a petition with the court. The court will also need medical proof to determine whether or not the conservatorship is needed. This can include a report from a doctor, psychologist, or senior psychological examiner. 

What Responsibilities Does a Conservator Have?

Being a conservator is a big undertaking. Conservators take on fiduciary duty, meaning that they have made a commitment to acting in the best interest of the conservatee, which is the most important responsibility of a conservator. The court will also determine which rights the conservatee must relinquish and transfer to the conservator. 

More responsibilities a conservator may have include the following:

  • Manage the conservatee’s financial affairs. 
  • Hiring caretakers for the conservatee.
  • Placing the conservatee in a care center.
  • Make medical decisions on the conservatee’s behalf. 
  • Handling any legal matters involving the conservatee. 

Get Help Applying for a Conservatorship Today

We all want to know that our loved ones are cared for and looked after. If you have a loved one with a disability and are concerned about their ability to make their own decisions and care for themselves, it may be time to consider a conservatorship. However, while a conservatorship may be necessary to protect your loved one, this process can be complicated. The estate planning attorneys at Tresser & Associates understand all the complexities involved with Tennessee conservatorships and can help you ensure your loved one is looked after. 

Contact Tressler & Associates to learn more about conservatorships in Tennessee. 

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