Recently, the state of Tennessee enacted a groundbreaking and widely praised law focused on preventing one type of elder abuse. The Campbell-Falk Act provides protection to individuals who have become wards of the state or whose appointed conservators control all aspects of their lives, from living arrangements and finances to their visitation schedules.


To best explain the significance of the Campbell-Falk Act, it is helpful to describe how the law came to be . . . 


Glen Campbell, the famous country singer, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Now 80 years of age and in the final stages of the disease, he resides in a memory care facility in Nashville, TN. Unfortunately, the relationships between Campbell’s current wife, Kim, and his oldest children, Debby Campbell-Cloyd and Travis Campbell, have been strained for some time.  


According to Debby and Travis, Kim prohibited them from seeing their father – which prompted extensive and expensive court intervention. The situation was so grueling that Campbell’s children pressed for legislation to ensure that other families could be spared this experience.


In the process, Campbell’s children teamed up with elders’ rights advocacy groups and Catherine Falk, daughter to famous Emmy-winning Columbo actor, Peter Falk. In Catherine’s case, her stepmother never notified her of her father’s death nor his funeral. Since then, she has lobbied state legislatures across the country to provide protections to those who cannot protect themselves.


The new Tennessee law gives protection to those with conservators by providing that they have a right to visit, communicate and interact with family and loved ones, and that a conservator shall not restrict this right unless specifically authorized by a court order. The law is meant to strike a balance between the rights of wards and their protection.


Specifically, the law sets forth a process by which the conservator can petition the court to place restrictions upon communication or interaction with certain people if the conservator can show good cause. The law also provides some of the factors the court can consider in this regard, including previous protective orders and past preferences and wishes of the ward. 


In discussing the significance of the law, Tennessee Senator Rusty Crowe, a primary sponsor of the bill, noted that, “it is heartbreaking to hear sons and daughters who cannot spend quality time with their parent after they are incapacitated and their health is in decline. We believe this new law strikes the right balance so that it protects the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens, while at the same time giving the conservator a fair process to follow in protecting the ward.”


The field of elder law is constantly evolving as our country recognizes the needs of our aging population.  For assistance with elder law matters, contact Loftus Law Offices, PLLC today. We can be reached at 603-465-7178 and at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Image of Glen Campbell courtesy of