What is a guardianship order?
This is a court appointment which authorises a person to act and make decisions on behalf of an adult with incapacity. Anyone with an interest can make an application for a guardianship order. When we refer to an adult, this is someone who is aged over 16 who is not able to look after their own affairs.
Guardianship is likely to be more suitable when decisions need to be taken on an ongoing basis. To give you an idea of the types of circumstances that might be suitable for a guardianship order, please refer to the case studies we have provided.
Before applying for a guardianship order, you should seek legal advice to make sure the appointment will benefit the adult and is appropriate under the circumstances.
After taking legal advice, if the application is considered to be both appropriate and beneficial to the adult, the application will include a list of the powers you need to allow you to look after the adult’s affairs. Powers can be requested to deal with the adult’s property and/or financial affairs and/or to make decisions about their personal welfare.
Based on the adult’s condition and circumstances, the Sheriff will decide how long the order should last. It is usual for orders to be granted for a period of 3 years; however it might be granted for a longer period of time or indeed for the lifetime of the adult.
Children about to reach the age of 16
For children who are about to reach the age of 16, you can apply for a guardianship order up to three months before their 16th birthday. This means that the guardianship order will take effect on the date of their birthday.