TN: Complaints Lead to Suggested Changes in Conservatorship Law

The Tennessee Bar Association has approved a series of recommended changes in the state law governing conservatorships including first time procedures to place a person in a conservatorship on an emergency basis without notice.

The recommendations, approved over the weekend by the association’s board of governors, will be forwarded to legislative leaders within the next few weeks, said Allan F. Ramsaur, executive director of the association.

In addition to establishing the emergency placement process, the 16 recommended changes in the law clarify the role of court appointed attorneys, known as “guardian ad litems,” assigned to investigate the need for a conservatorship and report back to the court with a recommendation.

The Tennessee Bar Association has approved a series of recommended changes in the state law governing conservatorships including first time procedures to place a person in a conservatorship on an emergency basis without notice.

The recommendations, approved over the weekend by the association’s board of governors, will be forwarded to legislative leaders within the next few weeks, said Allan F. Ramsaur, executive director of the association.

In addition to establishing the emergency placement process, the 16 recommended changes in the law clarify the role of court appointed attorneys, known as “guardian ad litems,” assigned to investigate the need for a conservatorship and report back to the court with a recommendation.

The proposal would require that the person being placed in the conservatorship be given notice within 48 hours and that a hearing be held within five days. The emergency appointment would be for a maximum of 60 days.

“The existing law does not have enough specificity,” [Jacson Attorney Pamela] Wright said, adding that the changes would give more protections to those being placed in a conservatorship.
Among those changes, she said, was to make it easier for a person placed in a conservatorship to appeal and get separate legal representation..

Other changes proposed include a requirement that the order creating a conservatorship include the specific rights that are being taken away and also any rights that are being retained. Another change would require that a conservator file more frequent financial reports, including one at the end of the first six months of the conservatorship.

Last year the General Assembly approved two changes in the conservatorship law. One requires that a proposed conservator disclose whether he or she has a criminal record. The other requires the proposed conservator to disclose his or her relationship with the person being conserved.

Tinnon, who now lives in public housing a few blocks from the house that was auctioned off to pay bills while she was in a conservatorship, said she was not aware of the recommendations but had one question.

“If they change it (the law) when will I get my stuff back?” she asked.

Full Article and Source:
Complaints Lead to Susgested Changes in Conservatorship Law

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10 Responses to “TN: Complaints Lead to Suggested Changes in Conservatorship Law”

  1. Barbara Says:

    It's a beginning for TN. My greatest fear is it's only that and reform will stop after this gesture.

  2. StandUp Says:

    I appreciate The Tennessean's ongoing focus on the probate court problems in TN.

  3. Christine Says:

    Don't be fooled. This is a token to quiet down the press.

  4. Sue Says:

    Who will answer Jewel Tinnon's question: “If they change it (the law) when will I get my stuff back?” she asked. THE RESULT OF THE CONSERVATORSHIP:Tinnon, who now lives in public housing a few blocks from the house that was auctioned off to pay bills while she was in a conservatorship, said she was not aware of the recommendations but had one question. “If they change it (the law) when will I get my stuff back?” she asked.

  5. Angi Says:

    If the TN State Bar, and Mr. Alan Ramsaur, are making these recommendations, then why did they dismiss all the complaints filed in these cases against the judge and the attorneys? It obviously took public pressure to get the State Bar to even look at the conservatorship laws. But, the question looms: why haven't any of the victims received any accountability for what was done to them under color of law?

  6. Terry Says:

    My hat is off to The Tennessean as well. I have seen several articles from them on this subject and enjoy each one. These reforms wouldn't happen were it not for The Tennessean keeping the fire stoked.

  7. Finny Says:

    I think they're feeding the public an appetizer but there will never be a full meal.

  8. B Inberg Says:

    My thinking is public pressure due to the press and media coverage put the lawyers in a corner, a shrinking corner forcing themm to address the problems. So time will tell if there will be meaningful improvements and how do we find out and keep track? Where do the complaints go? Into Judge Randy Kennedy's lap? Lotta good that will do.

  9. Rudy Says:

    Barbara's fear is reality in Colorado. After two state audits of probate (2006,2011), the Colorado Judicial Branch made the same sort of "changes," claiming "action" was take to end "probate/ fiduciary crime, meeting the requirement that action needs to be taken, thus creating the need for yet another Colorado state audit on the same issue, since, for instance, court appointed fiduciaries are immune from prosecution, so criminal background checks will reveal a clean record.

  10. Rudy Says:

    The interesting thing is, they, the legal rulers of the state, admit probate "reform" is needed. Why would they admit this if there were not something seriously wrong? But they claim reform means reiterating that they have the "right" to take a person's rights and property, and tell them which rights they are taking away. And the person will now have five whole days to interrupt his or her life, change his or her view of life, change his or her view of the United States of America, realize this is really real and become frantically terrified enough to get a lawyer, prepare for court, try to prove himself or herself competent against Human Services false defaming reports. Thanks for nothing, which is what we will all have when they get through with us, no matter which state we live in.

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