When a person is unable to make decisions for themselves, either medical or financial, an interested party may file a petition for a conservatorship or guardianship.
In Tennessee, a conservatorship is for adults and a guardianship is for minors.
In either case, the interested party (or petitioner) files a petition with the court stating that the person (or Ward) cannot make decisions for him or herself and asking the court to appoint someone to make those decisions for the person.
Based on the circumstances, including a physician’s statement in the case of adults, the court will determine whether the person is in need of a conservator or guardian. Because the petitioner is asking for certain rights to be removed from the Ward, the court will make sure that the Ward has an opportunity to be represented by counsel and will in most cases also appoint a Guardian ad litem to investigate the claim and report back to the court.
Generally, if the proposed Ward has funds, the court will tax the costs of the matter to the Ward; otherwise the petitioner will be expected to pay the costs involved.
The petitioner does not necessarily have to also request to be the conservator or guardian, but should propose a person or agency to serve if the petitioner does not wish to serve in that role.
There are specific legal procedures required in petitioning for a conservatorship or guardianship. If you have questions about the process or wish to file a petition for either a conservatorship or guardianship, contact us to discuss your options.