The Tennessee Public Guardianship for the Elderly program ensures the health and welfare of some of the state’s most vulnerable residents by serving as the court-appointed guardian for individuals age 60 and over who, due to physical or mental limitations, are unable to make personal decisions regarding their health and financial resources.
The court utilizes the program as a public option of last resort for individuals who have no other family member, friend, bank or corporation willing, able or suitable to act on their behalf. Entrusted since 1986, this program is funded by the state of Tennessee and administrated by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. The program is available in all 95 counties through the local grantee agency of the Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD). There are nine district public guardians throughout the state.
- Some people may pay a fee based on their income or resources.
- If a person is low-income, they do not pay for this service.
- If a person qualifies for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), they do not pay.
- The public guardian, or conservator, cannot file the initial petition for conservatorship.
- Adults Sixty (60) years of age or older
- No family member, friend or corporate entity who is willing and able to serve as guardian/conservator.
Types of Guardianship Services:
- Person Only
When appointed as the guardian over person, the guardian/conservator is permitted to make decisions related to healthcare.
- Property Only
When appointed as the guardian over property, the guardian/conservator is permitted to make decisions related to the estate and financial matters.
- Person and Property
When appointed as guardian over the person and property or plenary guardianship, the guardian/conservator is permitted to make all health care and financial decisions.
- Durable Power of Attorney
When serving a client as attorney-in-fact under a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), the district public guardian is permitted to make decisions regarding finances and/or health care as designated by the client and set forth in the signed Power of Attorney document. The document is durable, allowing it to remain in effect in case of disability.
For more information on the public guardianship program in your area, contact your Area Agency on Aging and Disability. The district public guardian can provide further details regarding eligibility, application and services.
Questions? Contact James Holmes, State Public Guardian Coordinator, at 615-253-3967.