Young People & Incapacity

Not everyone who loses their capacity is elderly. A sudden illness can result in a temporary or permanent loss of decision-making ability in young people too. If your loved one is in this position, you have to apply to the court for guardianship.

Straightforward Experience

“I have had a thoroughly straightforward, hassle-free experience. I was kept informed every step of the way, without query, about the progress of my case.”

J Logan, Family Law Services

The Short of it

  • If a loved one has become incapacitated and doesn't have a Power of Attorney in place,

    you can apply for legal guardianship to help care for them.

  • By applying to the court for a guardianship, you are promising to care for your loved one,

    and look after their finances, property and other assets.

  • Coping with the declining health of a loved one is difficult for everyone involved.

    We are here to take care of the legal side of things, so that you don't have to.

  • Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need

    and providing Straightforward legal advice. It should be that simple.

  • The Long of it

    Young people and incapacity

    What to do if a young person is incapacitated?

    When we think of people who have lost the ability to make decisions for themselves, usually what springs to mind is an older person with dementia.

    However, not everyone who loses their capacity is elderly. Sadly, a sudden illness or accident at any age can result in a temporary or permanent loss of decision-making ability. If your loved one is in this position, and they haven’t got a Power of Attorney in place already, you may need to apply for a court order so that you can make decisions about their everyday life and finances.

    It can also be the case that some people are born with conditions which mean they will never have decision-making capacity. If so, they will not be able to make a Power of Attorney. If your child is in this position, once they reach the age of sixteen the legal basis on which you as a parent can make decisions about them will change. You may need to seek a court order so that you can continue to make those decisions. It is possible to apply for a guardianship order before their sixteenth birthday, although it won’t take effect until then.

    Guardianship Orders

    Who can be appointed as a guardian?

    If you have a relationship with the incapacitated person, you can apply for guardianship, as can local authorities where they deem necessary.

    Usually it is a close relative who is appointed, and in Scotland it is possible to have more than one guardian. This can make it easier to care for the person, as one guardian may care for them physically and emotionally, and the other can take care of financial issues and asset management. Quite often, it is a solicitor who is appointed to manage the incapacitated person’s finances and property.

    Depending on the circumstances, the process can be long and complicated. There is no set time for a guardianship order to be granted, however the process can usually take up to six months.

    Guardianship responsibilities

    What responsibilities do I have as a guardian?

    When applying to be somebody’s legal guardian, you will have to state to the court why you are applying and for what you will have responsibility for.

    As an appointed guardian, you will have a responsibility for the incapacitated person’s health, welfare and living arrangements. You will also be in charge of taking care of their finances, including banking transfers and asset management, and may need to claim benefits on their behalf.

    Due to the amount of work and responsibility involved in being a guardian, it is easy to see why two people are often appointed.

    Why Watermans?

    Why should I choose Watermans as my guardianship solicitors?

    At Watermans, we understand what a difficult time it can be for everyone in this situation. Seeing your loved one unable to care for themselves or their finances is devastating, and the last thing you need to worry about is the complicated legal process.

    We’re experts in family law and we know our stuff – but we’re also normal people you can have a real conversation with. We don’t use legal jargon (or Latin), we give straightforward advice, and we won’t judge or patronise you. Coming from a range of backgrounds and with our own life experiences to draw on, we understand and empathise with how stressful family disputes can be. We know how important it is to trust your lawyer and that you need to know we’re in your corner. Our aim is to work in partnership with you to help resolve things quickly and cost-effectively so you can move forward with your life.

    We take the hassle out of the legal stuff, so that you can concentrate on caring for your loved one and getting on with your lives.

    Get in touch with us

    Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055


    Our Family Law expert

    “People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”

    Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law