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How guardianship is set up

Before applying for a guardianship order, you should seek legal advice to make sure the appointment will help the adult in question and that it's appropriate for their circumstances.

You make an application for guardianship to the local sheriff court in the area in which the adult lives by 'summary application'. Most people get a solicitor to make the application for them.

The application must be supported by 2 medical reports and a further report. This report will depend on the type of powers being sought, for example welfare powers, financial powers or a combination. If welfare powers are being applied for, the report will be completed by a mental health officer from the local council.

The order, once granted by the sheriff, states what the appointed person – called a guardian – can actually do.

Read more on guardianship and intervention orders.

Who can be a guardian?

Welfare guardian

Any individual can apply to be a welfare guardian. The Chief Social Work Officer of the local council can also apply where no one else is applying and welfare guardianship is necessary.

Financial guardian

Any individual can apply to be a financial guardian, including a solicitor or an accountant.

The local council has a duty to apply for financial guardianship:

  • if there's nobody else willing to apply
  • if the order would be necessary to protect the adult or their property or finances

How long guardianship can last

Guardianship orders are often granted for 3 years or, in certain circumstances, may be granted for a longer period. The sheriff would decide on this.

Guardians are supervised

Once appointed, your actions will be supervised. The local council has a duty to supervise welfare guardians. The Office of the Public Guardian has a duty to supervise financial guardians.

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