Tennessee

Guardianship Laws

Adult Guardianship Statute: 
Right to Counsel in Statute: Initial Guardianship Proceedings: 
Yes
Right to Counsel in Statute: Post-Appointment Guardianship Proceedings: 
Not stated
Right to Counsel Statututory Citation: 
Right to Counsel Definition in Statute: 

Court shall appoint attorney ad litem to represent respondent on respondent’s request, upon recommendation of the GAL, or if it appears to the court to be necessary to protect the rights and interests of the respondent. Respondent is defined as a person who is alleged to be disabled person.

Advocacy Role of Counsel Defined in Statute: 
Yes
Advocacy Role of Counsel Definition in Statute: 

“shall be an advocate for the respondent in resisting the requested relief.”

Professional Rules &/or Ethics Opinions: 

TRPC Rule 1.14: (a) When a client’s capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a representation is diminished, whether because of minority, mental impairment, or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client‑lawyer relationship with the client. (b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial, or other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act in the client’s own interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator, or guardian.

Case Law Discussing Role of Counsel: 

Counsel for the ward is an advocate for the ward, “even if that is not necessarily what is best for the respondent’s welfare." In re Conservatorship for Allen, No. E2010-01625-COA-R10-CV, 2010 WL 5549037, *8 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 29, 2010).

Other Case Law: 

The court has discretion to waive rights of the proposed ward, such as right to change counsel, where "strict compliance would be too costly or place an undue burden” on the ward. In re Conservatorship of Trout, No. W2008-01530-COA-R3-CV, 2009 WL 3321337 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 15, 2009).

Discuss Guardianship or Supported Decision-Making?: 
No
Web Resources: