Who Pays for the Fees and Costs for the Appointment of a Conservator or Guardian Under Tennessee law?

Posted on Feb 4 2014 11:17PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

T.C.A. § 34-1-114 provides that if a fiduciary (Conservator or Guardian) is appointed by the Court then the cost of the proceedings including court costs, guardian ad litem fee, required medical examination costs and attorney’s fees can be charged against the property of the respondent.  The respondent is the person who is the “person with disability” or minor that is subject to the conservatorship or guardianship.  The term “disabled person” is defined in T.C.A. § 34-1-101 as follows:


(13) “Person with a disability” means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older determined by the court to be in need of partial or full supervision, protection, and assistance by reason of mental illness, physical illness or injury, developmental disability, or other mental or physical incapacity;


If no fiduciary is appointed (in other words if the court rejects the petition for a conservatorship or guardianship) then the cost of the proceeding will be charged against the party that petitioned the court for the appointment of a conservator or guardian. 


T.C.A. § 34-1-114 provides as follows:


(a) The costs of the proceedings, which are the court costs, the guardian ad litem fee and expenses incurred by the guardian ad litem in conducting the required investigations, the required medical examination costs, and the attorney's fee for the petitioner, may, in the court's discretion, be charged against the property of the respondent to the extent the respondent's property exceeds the supplemental security income eligibility limit, or to the petitioner or any other party, or partially to any one or more of them as determined in the court's discretion. In exercising its discretion to charge some or all of the costs against the respondent's property, the fact a conservator is appointed or would have been appointed but for an event beyond the petitioner's control is to be given special consideration. The guardian ad litem fee and the attorney's fee for the petitioner shall be established by the court. If a fiduciary is cited for failure to file an inventory or accounting, the costs incurred in citing the fiduciary, in the discretion of the court, may be charged to and collected from the cited fiduciary.

(b) If the principal purpose for bringing the petition is to benefit the petitioner and there would otherwise be little, if any, need for the appointment of a fiduciary, the costs of the proceedings may be assessed against the petitioner, in the discretion of the court.


As a result, when you are trying to determine who is responsible to pay for the costs of a proposed conservatorship or guardianship, this is the statute to review to determine the responsibility for these costs.  If you are pursuing a conservatorship or guardianship, I recommend you hire a good attorney who knows how to handle these matters.  These are not simple matters and there are statutes with specific requirements that you need to know in order to properly move through this process.  Further, this statute allows the attorney fees to be paid out of the respondent’s property if the petition is granted by the Court.


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TAGS: Tennessee Conservatorship, Guardian Ad Litem
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com