Medical examinations and conservatorships in Tennessee

Interesting case on medical examinations and conservatorships in Tennessee. Nashville singer/songwriter Danny Tate suffered from substance abuse. One day, a psychiatrist, Dr. William Kenner, showed up at Tate’s door and began asking questions. Less than one week later, Dr. Kenner provided testimony supporting the appointment of a conservator over Tate.

As reported by the Nashville Scene, Dr. Kenner’s medical examination of Tate was a bit unusual. First, as mentioned above, Dr. Kenner performed the examination during an unannounced visit to Tate’s home rather than during a scheduled clinic appointment. Also, apparently, Dr. Kenner did not consult Tate’s treating physician. Further, Dr. Kenner was a child psychiatrist who did not have experience with substance abuse. Finally, Dr. Kenner did not perform objective testing.

Despite the irregularities, the probate court relied on Dr. Kenner’s testimony. And the appellate court affirmed. Perhaps this was because Tate’s condition was so patently obvious? According to the Nashville Scene, even Tate admits that “When Kennedy granted the conservatorship, [] he was in bad shape, wrestling with a drug whose grip was like nothing he’d ever encountered.” Still, from a rule of law perspective, it would have been nice if the court had more fully discussed whether Dr. Kenner qualified as an expert in the field of substance abuse. Also, it would have been nice if the court had more fully discussed whether Dr. Kenner’s irregular examination was even helpful to the court from a scientific perspective.

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Who pays the costs of a conservatorship in Tennessee?

Interesting case on who pays the costs of a conservatorship in Tennessee. As the Tennessee Court of Appeals points out, generally, if a conservator is appointed, the disabled or incapacitated person pays the costs, even if he opposes the conservatorship. As you can imagine, this leaves some protected people mad, especially if they don’t believe that a conservatorship is necessary or fully necessary. The Associated Press wrote a story on the facts of this case, which indicate that Nashville singer/songwriter Danny Tate was none too happy about being placed under a conservatorship for his substance abuse problems and then paying for it.

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Does Tennessee have jurisdiction for a conservatorship?

Excellent article by Donna S. Harkness on Tennessee’s version of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. For those unfamiliar with the UAGPPJA, here is a short overview:

  • An increasing elderly population combined with an increasing geographically disperse population has led to an increasing number of issues regarding where to file for a guardianship or conservatorship.
  • For instance, in Harkness’s article, a daughter who lived in Tennessee was concerned about her father who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and who lived in Alabama.
  • To address these issues, in 2007, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws released the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
  • Between states that have adopted the UAGPPJA, there is a framework for addressing jurisdictional issues in protective proceedings.
  • Currently, 20 states have adopted the Act, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.
  • Unfortunately, for people living in Memphis, although Tennessee has adopted the UAGPPJA, neither Arkansas nor Mississippi have adopted the Act.
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