• Cole Gorman

Are all older adults at risk of conservatorship as they age?

Some people are not in a position to make the best decisions for themselves. Children typically don’t understand the difference between their short-term desires and their true needs, so their parents serve as their guardians. 

Children aren’t the only ones who sometimes require ongoing support. Those with special needs may require assistance even after they reach adulthood. Older adults may require support for others either because of cognitive decline or physical limitations caused by evening. 

When someone who was previously independent can no longer manage their own affairs, the state of Tennessee might name someone else as their conservator. Under a conservatorship, someone loses the authority to make their own legal decisions. Is every adult at risk of a conservatorship? 

People can plan ahead to avoid conservatorship

It is often your closest family members to begin to suspect that you need more support than you have as you get older. Both your loved ones and professionals that work with you could go to the court to request conservatorship if they see signs that you need support. Even those without close family members could be subject to public guardianship as they age under Tennessee law. 

No one can know with total accuracy what medical issues they will have as they age, so anyone could be at risk of a conservatorship. One of the ways aging adults can avoid involuntary conservatorship is through advanced planning. Powers of Attorney can allow someone to essentially name their own conservator while they still have the testamentary capacity to do so. 

Even if you hope to remain healthy and active for years to come, considering what might happen if your health declines can be a good estate planning move. Drafting powers of attorney could be a smart estate-planning move for those concerned about a possible future conservatorship.

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