Kym Dunham, LLC
CONSERVATOR | FIDUCIARY
Serving Cookeville, TN and surrounding areas
“I’m relieved that someone cares about my well-being, my wishes, and my assets!”
Sometimes, really difficult decisions must be made. Even with loving family members, so many issues can arise that will derail the best intentions. It is hard to see yourself or a loved one no longer able to handle daily matters. End of life decisions can also be difficult to discuss with family. Having a skilled, compassionate, neutral party involved to ensure the clients preferences are the top priority helps ease everyone’s minds.
Get started with a free consultation today.
About Kym Dunham
Kym Dunham is a Nationally Certified Conservator and private fiduciary. She specializes in guiding clients through the very complicated legal and financial aspects related to these and many other challenging situations. Kym served as a Public Conservator for several years in the Upper Cumberland. She chose to move to the private sector in order to spend more quality time with each client. Maintaining national certification and ongoing training reveals she is committed to using the best standards of practice for each client. Kym is highly regarded in her field by all those who work with her. She maintains the highest level of integrity, trust, and competence for those she serves.
Many people seek out Kym’s services on their own instead of a family member doing it for them. They want to make sure their own decisions are understood and carried out as they determine. Many also want to lift the burden from their friends and family when the time comes.
“I really try to help the people as they navigate through these extremely difficult changes. Emotions can run very high when, for instance, decisions are being made about selling the family home, moving elderly parents into care facilities, or making end of life decisions. These are not easy changes to make, even when the best of intentions are in the forefront. I know where to research needed information and I have a lot of contacts that I can pull into play in order to help others. If they don’t know the answers and I don’t know the answers, I know how to get the answers.”
Kym serves in many different roles – that of conservator, power of attorney, will executor or administrator, trustee, and/or fiduciary. No matter the capacity of her work, Kym always sees herself as a personal liaison and advocate for her clients.
“It’s ultimately about doing what is right and building trusted relations.”
Services are tailored to each individual client’s needs. Click the services below to learn more.
A conservator is someone assigned by the court system to take over the legal rights of a person who lacks capacity; that person will no longer have the ability to make all choices for himself. Many people don’t have anyone that can step in and help them so referrals for conservatorship can come from a myriad of places, such as Adult Protective Services, medical personnel, nursing homes, attorneys, families etc. Some individual’s families all live out of state and it’s a big help to the children when they cannot be there to have a conservator provide care for their loved one.
“Conservatorship means someone’s legal rights are being taken away,” Kym explains. “That is a heavy responsibility and should be treated as such, but it should always be conducted with respect and dignity. As a conservator, I allow my client to participate in decision making as much as possible. I am here to assist and protect, not to take over.”
There are different levels of conservatorship. Full conservatorship means taking care of everything – decisions about the person and about his or her property and finances. Limited conservatorship means having responsibility over just certain facets, such as medical, financial, etc.
“A conservator has a lot of power over a person’s life, and that power could easily be abused, so it’s critically important to know and trust the person who will serve as your loved one’s decision maker. I have an excellent track record with the courts, many attorneys, community members, families, friends, and clients. They know if I have the privilege of caring for someone, I will take very good care of that person. I consider just as important the moral responsibility I hold as well. That, more than anything else, defines how and why I do what I do. The law is black and white, but the moral parameters can vary widely.”
Power of Attorney
For individuals who still have capacity but need some assistance, Durable Power of Attorney can be put in place. This type of service does not go through the court system. With a power of attorney, the client can have assistance making decisions when necessary. This also allows the client’s wishes to be known if they cannot speak for themselves. As POA, Kym gets to know her clients on a personal level. It is a relief to know extra help is available. POA can eventually petition the court for conservatorship if necessary. The client may also wish for the POA to become the executor of their will. Again, it’s someone who knows the client and can carry out his wishes.
“Power of attorney can go into effect immediately or can be springing. In the latter, I help make decisions they have clearly informed me of when the client requests assistance. With a power of attorney in place, the client decides who helps with decisions.”
If a conservator is appointed that is not comfortable with court accountings, Kym can complete these accountings for you.
Fiduciary services can also be provided for those who no longer wish to keep up with their finances. Kym can assist with reconciling bank statements along with having your monetary assets monitored. Many people have CD’s that mature and need to be reinvested or cashed out. She works closely with her clients to ensure the best options are reported.
“I work closely with financial institutions and financial advisors to protect my client’s assets,” explains Kym.
Kym provides bookkeeping services to small business as requested. Monthly balanced bank statements, income statements, and profit and loss statements are provided to clients monthly or as requested. Payroll services will be offered soon.
Trusts and Trustee Services
A trust is different than a will. Generally, people with a lot of assets may have a will but they also have a trust. There are several different kinds of trusts, such as a revocable trust, irrevocable trust, and special needs trust. Your attorney can advise you on all types of trust and their purposes.
As a trustee, Kym acts as the legal owner of trust assets. She is responsible for handling any of the assets held in trust, tax filings for the trust, and distributing the assets according to the terms of the trust. While under her management, Kym ensures the assets are safe. She is charged with preserving the assets and administering the trust according to its terms.
In the instance of administering special needs trust, Kym prides herself on not only taking care of the assets but also becoming a trusted friend to the beneficiaries. These types of trusts are especially endearing to Kym due to her background of caring for disabled clients. There are many stipulations on these types of trust to ensure the needy person does not lose their government benefits.
“You can hire a company to do this, and it will cost a lot of money, but they will only manage the money. I don’t want to do only that,” Kym explains. “This person has most likely lived with Mom and Dad their entire life, but now they are gone, and their world is turned upside down. They still need to have someone they know and that they can trust. I could just write checks, monitor everything, or say yay or nay; it’s a lot easier to not get attached to people but that is just not my personality. I want to go see them and check on them, see what they need, be it clothes or to go out to dinner, maybe just spending time with them. I want to step into that family role and truly care for this person.”
Kym can work with a client to create an Estate Preparation Book. This book contains all the necessary information in one place to carry out a client’s wishes. If Kym is the named executor, then she has a copy and the client has all the originals. If someone else is the executor, Kym can still create this book and have it ready for when the time comes. Upon request, this book is updated annually. This information will provide extreme assistance to the executor of the will.
“Gathering all the information to probate an estate is a monumental task and items can be overlooked. The existence of this book will ensure the executor has all needed information which saves time and money.”
Wills- Executor or Administrator
“Some clients do not want to burden a family member to be the executor of their will. With the proper legal support, I can perform all duties necessary. They want to make sure someone they can trust will be there to carry out to his wishes. If I am to serve as someone’s executor, I really want to get to know my client because I will be fighting for you and your final wishes after you are gone. That is really important to me.”
There is so much for people to consider in a will. A responsible person needs to be assigned to pay final bills, filing taxes, taking care of bank accounts, closing out their estates which may involve selling property and personal items, where do the pets go, etc. Estate planning is really a thoughtful, loving thing to do for your family; it is so much more than what people typically think of as in pre-planning your funeral. An attorney can assist in creating your will. Naming your executor is a choice the client makes. These decisions need to be made and entrusted to someone you know will carry them out. If a client does not have an executor to their will, the court will appoint someone, which can include a person unfamiliar with the client.
“With the proper legal support, I perform these duties for my clients. This takes the burden of closing out the estate off the family. Also, it ensures that my clients have THEIR final wishes followed. Using a neutral party often eliminates increased tension. By working with me, I ensure that what they want will be done. It is their absolute right to choose and feel confident that those wishes will be carried out,” says Kym.
From a physician and his wife’s family:
From Physician and wife:
Although our family usually approaches obtaining outside help for any reason with skepticism, the peace of mind that we received by using Kym relative to providing optimal care and social interaction for “grandmother” was tremendous and allowed us to not be consumed by overwhelming tasks. In addition, having a partner help us with these daily tasks, freed us from guilt of not being able to spend more time with her due to our hectic work schedules and other family obligations.
From a community supporter:
She is an excellent example of the type of person you would want caring and assisting the physically and mentally challenged, elderly, and anyone who needs assistance. Her clients are her extended family ans she treats them as such. She is most professional in her duties yet she still finds time to show that tender living care to her clients.
…Kym is very knowledgeable in the care of her clients. Her organized and methodical approach at administering various processes that maximize the functioning of her residents is a asset. She is very conscientious of setting health boundaries and limits that assist in maintaining my clients respect and dignity in relationships.
From a client’s family:
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As we age our needs can be challenging and arduous, and it is not something most people fully understand. Hiring an expert that can explain all this and guide you through it is a loving thing to do for someone or a smart thing to do for yourself. It also provides assurances to families that their loved one is going to be taken care of, such as an aging parent for their developmentally delayed adult child. It reduces worry and stress and protects the client and the family legally as well.
“The peace of mind a conservator and fiduciary provides can be invaluable. I take on a lot of liability and responsibility while at the same time, taking that off the shoulders of the individual or the family. I am very open with everything and try to provide as much explanation as possible to ease any concerns,” Kym says.
Contact Kym today to set up your free consultation to discuss your situation and see how she can help you. It’s the absolute best money you have never spent.
Contact Kym Dunham