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When should I file a petition for conservatorship or guardianship?

| Apr 22, 2021 | Estate Planning |

You love your parents, but you know that they are getting older. Your mother’s memory is not what it used to be, and your father’s physical health is not good.

You know that you can petition to take on conservatorship or guardianship of your parents, but you don’t want to take away their rights before they are in a position where they can’t make their own decisions. How can you be sure that you’re doing the right thing, and when is the right time to file?

When is it time to become a conservator or guardian?

Generally speaking, it’s appropriate to petition for a conservatorship or guardianship when an adult can no longer make responsible decisions for themselves or physically care for themselves. They are, at that point, considered disabled due to being unable to make financial or healthcare decisions due to physical or mental disability.

Is there a difference between a conservatorship or guardianship?

In Tennessee, any adult guardianship is formally known as a conservatorship.

What is a public guardianship?

A public guardianship is one where a conservator takes over the care of someone who is 60 or older. That person is not a friend, bank, company or family member. A conservator is hired to take on the job by the individual or state. The appointed conservator is not allowed to file for guardianship, which helps prevent fraud and other related issues.

What should you do if you think that it’s time to seek guardianship over a loved one?

If you believe that now is the time to petition for guardianship, you may need to do a few things. First, talk to your attorney about the petition, because you may need legal support. Second, you may want to gather documentation to support your case. Your loved one should have a medical exam, when possible, and the provider may agree that they have a condition where they can no longer make decisions on their own. In that situation, you can petition the court with evidence and seek the legal rights of a guardian to take care of the person you love.