Once appointed by the Court to act as Financial Guardian there are certain administrative responsibilities which you will have to fulfill, these are detailed below. By taking on this role you are accepting this responsibility and it is therefore important that you consider if you have the time and ability to carry out the duties of a Financial Guardian.
Caution (pronounced Kay-shun)
The Sheriff may order that you obtain a Bond of Caution (usually within 4 weeks of your date of appointment). A Bond of Caution is an insurance policy to protect the asset of an incapable adult in the event of any errors or omissions by the Guardian. This is a requirement for all Financial Guardians unless the estate is very small. The level of Caution will usually be reviewed by the Public Guardian’s Office when they review your annual accounting. There is an annual premium which requires to be paid (from the incapable adult’s estate) during the course of your appointment.
Inventory of estate
This is basically a snapshot of the value of the Adult’s estate as at your date of appointment. You require to detail all of the Adult’s assets and provide vouching evidence of this.
This details how you intend to manage the Adult’s finances during your period of appointment. This will usually involve advising the Public Guardian’s Office of anticipated costs (i.e. utilities, rent payments or care costs, clothing etc.). You cannot fully act as Guardian until your Management Plan has been approved. You can advise various agencies of your appointment but must not undertake any expenditure other than necessary day-to-day expenses. Where the Adult’s estate is of a higher value you also require to lodge a financial adviser’s report along with your Management Plan.
Application for consent to sell/purchase accommodation
A form is available for completion from the Public Guardian’s Office website and should be lodged with them prior to the completion of any sale or purchase. You should take into account that the Public Guardian’s Office will intimate the application on any interested parties so ensure you have given yourself enough time when submitting this before concluding any missives for a sale/purchase. This is a 2 stage process and each stage requires a 21 day period for objections from interested parties (42 days if an interested party lives outwith Europe).
You will provide the Public Guardian’s Office with details of the value of the Adult’s estate at the beginning of the year and the end of the year and demonstrate how you have used the Adult’s funds for their benefit. You require to provide vouching evidence to lodge with the annual accounting.
Renewal of your order
If your order has been granted for a specified period (i.e. 3 years, 5 years, 10 years) you should review whether the powers are still required around 6 months before they are due to expire. If the powers do require to be renewed contact your solicitor to progress matters.
If your powers are no longer required to the end of your period of appointment or if the Adult dies you will require to submit a final accounting of your actings as Guardian.
Discharge of Guardian
On conclusion of your actings and when lodging the final accounting you also require to complete and submit a discharge form and lodge this with the Public Guardian’s Office. Again, they will intimate your intention to be discharged to any interested parties prior to authorising your discharge.
Should there be any change in circumstances (i.e. change of address of the Incapable Adult or the Guardian, or death of the Incapable Adult or the Guardian) you should advise the Public Guardian’s Office.
Finally, you should bear in mind when acting as a Guardian that you must follow the guiding principles which are laid out in legislation when making any decision as a Guardian. There are also Codes of Practice for Guardians which you can review when making decisions.
Should you have any queries about your duties as a financial Guardian, lodging a Guardianship application, renewal of an application, variation of your powers or opposing an application please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Adults with Incapacity Team who will be happy to assist.