Filing for a conservatorship is a well-worn path. Although there are lots of ins and outs to it, it basically requires a petition, an affidavit from a doctor stating the need for the conservatorship, and a few procedural items, like an ADA notice and proposed orders. Many courts provide their own preferred forms, such as here.
Depending on the court, the process then moves pretty fast, relative to other litigation. The chancellor appoints a guardian ad litem (if needed) who meets the proposed ward and issues a report. The chancellor then sets a hearing and hopefully issues an order. The conservator can then post a bond and take charge.
When a ward moves, the process is different. Most states, including Tennessee, have adopted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. This act clarifies which state’s law controls and provides “registration” of an out of state conservatorship in another state. It also provides a slightly cumbersome method of transferring the conservatorship without having to reestablish the grounds for the conservatorship.
Also, if the conservatorship is disputed in some way, this Act can save a lot of money and heartache as it limits forum-shopping.
If the conservatorship (or guardianship) exists in a state not a party to the Act, it can still be moved. The Tennessee statute for transferring conservatorship, T.C.A. § 34-8-302, requires attaching a copy of an order from the transferring court. However, the transferring court (the other state) often requires an order from the receiving court. The conundrum can be resolved by getting a provisional order from the receiving (Tennessee) court.
After receiving the provisional order, the petitioner then needs to get an order from the transferring state. This often requires hiring local counsel in the transferring state. Once that order is obtained, it can be filed with the Tennessee court for issuance of the final order.
Despite the time and efforts, moving the conservatorship is essential when the ward moves. Thankfully, the Chancery Court in Hamilton County is easy to work with. Failing to transfer a conservatorship can get you in trouble, so make that a priority when moving.