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Legal Assistance for the Elderly

Provides legal services and referrals to those 60+ and offers public education presentations to senior centers, churches, civic groups, etc. upon request.


The program's only client eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. The person to receive services must reside in (i.e., have a mail address or currently live) in oneof the program's service counties, and
  2. The person to receive services must be 60 years of age or older.

Another general requirement, which may be waived in certain circumstances, is the senior seeking to become a client must personally contact the program office and request legal help, before any
in-person appointments will be set.


Explanation of Services

The Legal Assistance for the Elderly Program offers services which extend from referrals, to brief advice, to full legal representation, in a variety of legal matters. The program also offers estate planning, document drafting services and public education presentations on senior legal issues to senior centers, churches, civic groups, etc. throughout the service area, upon request. Common case types include the following:


  •  Financial Power of Attorney
  •  Healthcare Power of Attorney (Appointment of a Healthcare Fiduciary/Agent)
  •  Revocation of Power of Attorney
  •  Qualified Income Trusts (QIT)/Miller Trusts (for TennCare CHOICES applicants only)
  •  Representation in Nursing Facility Involuntary Discharge Hearings
  •  Limited Advice regarding TennCare CHOICES Eligibility, Enrollment, and Rights
  •  Long Term Care Planning
  •  Housing Issues
  •  Investigation of Elder Financial Exploitation, and Civil Prosecution in limited circumstances
  •  Assistance and/or Referrals for Public Benefits (such as Social Security, VA, and Nutrition)
  •  Representation in Defense of Conservatorship/Guardianship Actions


Caseload Capacity and Waiting List

The program employs one part-time attorney and one shared part-time support staff member. Thus, the program has case capacity limits. Emergency cases (i.e., those involving immediate risk of
harm or death to the senior if prompt action is not taken) are given priority attention. Other eligible cases are handled on a case-type priority basis. The state sets the program’s priority case categories. Thereafter, cases are served on a first come, first serve basis, as far as capacity will allow. When the caseload reaches maximum level, new prospective clients will be given the option to be placed on a waiting list, and/or referred to other organizations or professionals who may be able to provide them with more immediate help.


Client Costs

All program services are provided at no cost to the client, but donations are accepted and appreciated. There is, however, no additional funding available to cover incidental legal expenses related to certain types of cases, such as fees to obtain records or file court documents. If a client has a case type that requires fees to be paid to third parties in order to proceed, then the client would have to pay those fees out-of-pocket in order for the program to provide the requested legal representation.


Need for Matching Funds

Any individual or entity interested in learning more about matching funds opportunities related to the Legal Assistance program should contact the director of the East Tennessee Area on Aging and Disability: 

Aaron Bradley
(865)691-2551 ext 4216


Cash Donations: 

The program does not charge clients for services or remote service delivery. All program activities are paid for by Older Americans Act funds distributed through the East Tennessee AAAD and client donations. Clients can make donations to the program at any time and in any amount they chose, by cash, check, or money order.

Donations to the Legal Assistance Program can be made by mail to: 

ETHRA  Attn: Bailey Bower
9111 Cross Park Drive Ste. D-100
Knoxville, TN 37923



The program is always seeking volunteers who are willing to serve as local liaisons between seniors in their community that may need help, and legal program staff members. Some training may be required before a volunteer can serve.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or want further information, please contact either:

Baily Bowers
Program Attorney
(865)691-2551 x 4212

Vickie Patterson
Legal Program Secretary
(865)691-2551 x 4224


Common Client Referral Organizations: 

Report physical elder abuse, neglect, and self neglect to Tennessee Adult Protective Services (APS): 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) or, online at Report Elder Abuse

Get answers to Medicare-related questions by calling the SHIP hotline: 1-877-801-0044

Report identity theft to the Fraud Departments at the three major credit bureaus and file a report with your local police department:

  • Experian (TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  • Transunion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

For questions about TennCare, contact the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC): 615-255-0331

Get help with home foreclosures and mortgage-related disputes by contacting one of the HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies:

  • Primary HUD Counselor Referral Line: 800-569-4287 (call this number to get the name and contact info for your local HUD counselor)
  • Other specific East Tennessee counseling agencies

East Tennessee Housing Counseling Agencies - Direct Contact Information:

Knox Housing Partnership, Inc.
109 N. Winona Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37917
* Service area includes 75 mile radius outside Knox County


Knoxville Area Urban League
1514 E. Fifth Avenue
Knoxville, Tennessee 37917
* Service area includes Knox and Surrounding Counties  


Program Quick Stats

600+ Seniors

In 15 Counties Served


Baily Bowers
Program Attorney
(865) 691-2551 ext 4212


Vickie Patterson
Program Secretary
(865) 691-2551 ext 4224




Federal funds are made available through the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

Counties Served

Blount County, Claiborne County, Campbell County, Anderson County, Morgan County, Cocke County, Grainger County, Hamblen County, Jefferson County, Loudon County, Monroe County, Roane County, Scott County, Sevier County, Union County