Franklin Conservatorship & Guardianship Attorney
Tennessee law respects the rights of individuals to make their own decisions and care for themselves, even if they don’t always make the best decisions. At the same time, the state recognizes there are instances when individuals are not capable of caring for themselves or making decisions without jeopardizing their health or safety. In these situations, Tennessee courts can create conservatorships by appointing a responsible adult to look after the individual and assist them in decision making for a better quality of life.
The Franklin conservatorship & guardianship attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers advise and represent conservators, conservatees and families through the process of establishing conservatorships and guardianships consistent with Tennessee law. Call our office to discuss whether a conservatorship is the right fit for your unique needs.
Conservatorship of Adults
People sometimes confuse the terms “guardianship” and “conservatorship,” but the two words are not interchangeable. In Tennessee, guardianship refers to the legal authority over minor children regardless of the presence of a disability, while conservatorship refers to the authority over adults with limited capacity to care for themselves or make responsible decisions regarding their finances or physical health.
Once a child with intellectual or developmental disabilities reaches adulthood, they may need a conservator to help them manage their money and make decisions regarding schooling, employment, housing, and all facets of daily life. An adult without disabilities could also suffer an injury that creates cognitive impairments and necessitates a conservatorship.
Conservators are appointed by the court, and the court has the final say and authority over the individual. When assigning a conservatorship, the court will structure it in as limited a way as possible, reserving for the individual as much autonomy as is reasonable. Conservatorships can be full or limited, and they can cover the person or the estate, or both, depending on needs.
The process for establishing a conservatorship starts with filing a petition in court. After an investigation regarding the need for a conservatorship, the court will hold a hearing on the matter. If granted, the court will issue a letter of conservatorship conferring authority in the conservator. The conservator must report regularly to the court, and if the person moves to another county, the conservatorship would need to be transferred to that county (and court) as well.
The individual subject to conservatorship is entitled to legal representation at all stages of the conservatorship proceeding. The Franklin conservatorship attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers advise and represent proposed conservators and conservatees in the process, including providing advice on alternatives to conservatorships such as joint bank accounts, powers of attorney, or supported decision making. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we can also help with the creation of special needs trusts that can accomplish some of the financial protection purposes of a conservatorship. Finally, our experienced courtroom litigators can also help if litigation arises surrounding the conduct of the conservator as a fiduciary, including proceedings to remove and replace the conservator or terminate the conservatorship.
Guardianship of Minor Children
Parents are the legal guardians of their children. This means that parents have the rights and responsibilities to care for their children and make decisions regarding all aspects of their upbringing and well-being. If the parents die or otherwise become unable to serve as guardians for their children, the court will appoint another individual to be the guardian. By designating a guardian ahead of time in your will, the court will likely respect your wishes and appoint the person you nominate to look after your kids.
Honest Advice & Professional Assistance With Conservatorship in Franklin, Tennessee
To discuss a conservatorship in Williamson County, or for help establishing, modifying or terminating a conservatorship or guardianship, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers at 615-791-7575 to share your concerns with a skilled and knowledgeable Franklin conservatorship attorney.