When someone is not capable of granting a Power of Attorney but their affairs need managed, a Guardianship might be appropriate.
There are some differences between a Guardianship and a Power of Attorney:
- Court application vs written document
A Guardianship requires an application to the local Sheriff Court and an informal hearing takes place at the court. A Power of Attorney by contrast only needs a written document to be signed and registered in the required format.
A Guardianship requires a management plan, inventory and annual accounts to be approved by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). An attorney using a Power of Attorney is advised to keep comprehensive records but there is not typically an accounting process required.
A Guardianship is usually only granted for a specified time, eg three years, and is renewed at the end of that period if necessary. A Power of Attorney is usually granted for an indefinite period.
As well as Guardianships, there are other options available to anyone interested in looking after someone who has lost capacity:
- Access to Funds
This is an option available to be able to make one-off financial decisions for the adult concerned. The application process does not require a court hearing but there are still some procedures to be approved by the OPG.
- Intervention Order
Another option to provide a one-off decision or set of decisions for someone. The application process is similar to a Guardianship but the powers given can be more comprehensive than an Access to Funds Order.