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Your next steps after filing for a Conservatorship

Your next steps after filing for a Conservatorship

We often help people file conservatorships for loved ones, which as you may know from this post. Today, we want to address the next steps after filing the petition, which is working with the Guardian ad Litem and attending the hearing on your petition. Hearings are usually held between 45 and 60 days after filing your petition.

The Guardian ad Litem is a special attorney appointed by the Court to answer two main questions.

1. Does the person you are trying to establish a conservatorship for really need someone to help them make and carry out decisions?

2. If so, who is the best person to serve as a conservator?

The Guardian ad Litem will file a report with the Court Clerk letting the Judge know what they think at least three days before the hearing.

On the hearing date, you should plan to attend court. If there are disagreements over whether a conservator is needed or who should serve, make arrangements to take the entire day off work or other obligations. Otherwise, your attorney will help you determine how much time to allow for your court hearing.

If the Guardian ad Litem has recommended a conservatorship for your loved one and that you should be appointed, the hearing will usually go quickly, with minimal testimony. Your attorney will make a statement about the case and the Guardian ad Litem will chime in with their opinion. You may be asked a few questions about your qualifications to serve, similar to the information that was in your petition.

The Judge will either sign an Order that your attorney has prepared before the hearing or agree that your attorney will submit one for signature. After the Judge signs the Order, your attorney will help you get Letters of Conservatorship, which we will address in a future blog post.

If you believe that someone you care about needs a conservatorship, please feel free to reach out to us by email or phone. If you believe a loved one is in need of a conservatorship, please reach out to our office by phone at (615) 846-6201, by email at april@galsnashville.com or you can schedule a complimentary call with us here!

Will the government take your assets if you do not have a will in place?

Will the government take your assets if you do not have a will in place?

One concern I frequently hear is worry that the government will take assets from a loved one or take assets from an estate instead of family members inheriting it. These are valid concerns because there are specific instances where this can happen, but as a general rule, the government DOES NOT take assets unless they have a legal reason for doing so. The usual reasons is if someone received Medicaid (TennCare) to pay for long term care, if they owed back taxes, or if no family members can be located. But, as a general rule, the State of Tennessee is not going to take your assets.

The State of Tennessee has a statute that lays out how your assets will pass if you die without a will. Your assets will pass to what we call your heirs at law. Those are really the people that you probably think of as your closest relatives: your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your siblings, your nieces and nephews, your cousins, and farther out. But it’s those close relatives.

Generally, the government is going to look for anyone related to you before the government gets any money. I hope that sharing this information with you has given you a sense of relief if you were told inaccurate information elsewhere.

If you have other questions about your estate or that of a loved one, click here to schedule a call with us.