In Scotland, a guardianship order is a court order which authorises a person to make decisions for, and act on behalf of an adult with an incapacity.
Anyone with an interest can apply for a guardianship order, and the circumstances in which one is granted can be varied and diverse.
Below is an initial guide which shouldn’t be considered to be legal advice but could help point you in the right direction of what to consider in respect of guardianship orders in Scotland. Further useful information can be found on this website: https://www.guardianshiporders.org.uk/
1: What is the purpose of guardianship orders?
The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 is the legislation which governs guardianship orders.
The purpose of the act is to provide a range of options to assist adults who are or may become incapable of taking care of their own financial or other affairs.
2: Who exactly can apply to be a guardian?
Anyone who has a vested interest in the adult concerned can apply for a guardianship order at the sheriff court.
This could be a family member, a carer of the adult, a professional such as an accountant or solicitor, or the Chief Social Work Officer of the local authority.
It is also possible to apply for more than one guardian to be appointed, and for substitute guardians too. The applicant and the guardian can be different people. For example, you may apply to the sheriff court for the local authority to have a guardianship order granted, in order that they can legally make decisions on the care of the adult concerned.
3: How do I apply for a guardianship order?
If you are considering applying for a guardianship order, it is very important to seek expert legal advice. The application process can be complicated, and so a solicitor is best placed to help you.
A solicitor can guide you through the process, and will be sure to obtain information from you and other interested parties (such as carers or the local authority), so as to ensure the powers contained within the order are sufficient, and that obtaining a guardianship order is appropriate in the circumstances.
Once an application is ready, it is lodged with the sheriff court in the area where the adult concerned lives.
4: What powers can a guardianship order give?
An order can give a wide range of powers to the appointed guardian(s).
These can included financial powers, relating to the finances and other assets of the adult. The powers can also allow for welfare decisions to be made on behalf of the adult, and often a combination of financial and welfare powers are granted, but this depends on the circumstances.
5: What next?
You may have further questions or need advice concerning guardianship orders, and be uncertain as to certain aspects of the process.
Applying for a guardianship order is not always straightforward, and it is important, given the serious nature of the orders, to seek expert legal advice. This will help to ensure the process is done properly and taking into account the appropriateness of an order, and the benefits to the adult concerned.