Is there a priority or preference for who should be appointed conservator for a “disabled person” in Tennessee?

Posted on Mar 6 2013 11:54AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Tennessee law provides a list of preferences for the appointment of a fiduciary conservator for a “disabled person”.  “Disabled person” is defined in T.C.A. § 34-1-101 (for purposes of a proceeding for a conservatorship) as follows:


(7) “Disabled person” means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older determined by the court to be in need of partial or full supervision, protection and assistance by reason of mental illness, physical illness or injury, developmental disability or other mental or physical incapacity;


T.C.A. § 34-3-103 provides a list of those individuals that the court should consider for appointment as the conservator for the “disabled person.”  This statute provides:


Subject to the court's determination of what is in the best interests of the disabled person, the court shall consider the following persons in the order listed for appointment of the conservator:

(1) The person or persons designated in a writing signed by the alleged disabled person;

(2) The spouse of the disabled person;

(3) Any child of the disabled person;

(4) Closest relative or relatives of the disabled person; and

(5) Other person or persons.


This list requires the court to consider people in this order for appointment as a conservator in Tennessee.  However, the first sentence also provides a qualifier.  The court must make a determination of what is in the best interests of the disabled person.


This statute is one of the reasons why it is very important to have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare in Tennessee.  The first person to be considered as a conservator is someone who was designated by the disabled person in writing.  This designation can and should be made in a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.  This provides a way for people to choose their preference for a potential conservator should the need ever arise for one to be appointed.

TAGS: Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Tennessee Conservatorship
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com