In Tennessee, a Court may appoint a Conservator for a person who lacks mental capacity to handle his / her own affairs. But what exactly does a Conservator DO and what are the responsibilities of the job?

There are two types of authority which the Court will normally grant to a Conservator:

1. Conservator of the Person
The Conservator of the Person is authorized to make medical decision and health care choices, provide for living arrangements, provide transportation, and ensure the overall well-being and personal care of the disabled individual (the Ward).

2. Conservator of the Property
The Conservator of the Property is responsible for maintaining and safeguarding the Ward’s financial assets (of all types) and property, including real estate, financial accounts, personal property, etc. He or she must provide a “Property Management Plan” to the Court, and must at least once per year provide a detailed accounting of all monies received by the Conservator and spent on behalf of the Ward. This Conservator is held to a high “fiduciary” standard by the Court, and is responsible for any inappropriate use of the Ward’s assets.

In many cases, the Court will award BOTH types of authority to the same Conservator. However, there may be reasons why a Court would award one type of authority to one individual, and one type to another. For instance, if the incapacitated person (the Ward) has a large amount of assets, a Judge may prefer to appoint a close relative as the Conservator of the Person, and then choose a professional money management company or corporate trustee as Conservator of the Property.

Tennessee Conservatorship law is flexible, and allows the local judge, as the decision maker, much discretion to do what is in the best interest of the disabled individual.

If you need more information about a possible Conservatorship for a loved one, please contact Rich Scrugham at 865-546-9321.