We offer advice and representation in relation to all aspects of mental health and incapacity law. We are experts in the area of obtaining welfare and financial guardianships for family members who need to be able to manage the affairs of a loved one with an incapacity.
The practice's long standing interest in this field is demonstrated by the fact that Andrew McLaughlin has acted as a Curator Ad Litem to the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland since 2010 and that Laura McLaughlin was appointed as a Legal Convener of the tribunal itself in October 2016. Few other practices could lay claim to having such a body of expertise in this area of law.
Can I get Civil Legal Aid for my Welfare and or Financial Guardianship Application?
Yes, and it is available for everyone regardless of how much money they have in the bank. In our experience many solicitors do not advertise this. We always look to obtain Legal Aid funding to allow family members and carers to obtain welfare and financial guardianship applications. There may be a small cost in applying for Civil Legal Aid itself.
What's involved in getting a Guardianship order granted?
We are experts in sorting out Guardianships and this area of law has always been one of the backbones of our practice. Once we obtain Legal Aid for you we will engather the necessary reports which we need. We need to get two reports from doctors which confirm that the "Adult" has an incapacity and that this is likely to be lifelong. We also need to get a report from a Mental Health Officer. Mental Health Officers are employed by the local authority and provide a report on your suitability as being appointed as guardian.
Once we have these reports we draft up the necessary paperwork and send it all to Court. We then get the papers back from Court with the date of the hearing. Before then we have to serve the Court papers on various government bodies and on interested parties in the Adult's life. Provided no one objects then we have a great record of having the Guardianship order granted at the first hearing without any need for further delays. Where there are objections we have the skills and experience needed to successfully argue your position before the Sheriff.
What sort of situation requires a welfare or financial guardianship?
Normally our clients are either children of elderly relatives who have a diagnosis of dementia or other cognitive impairment or parents of young persons with autism of learning disabilities. In each case we look to ensure that the Guardian will have all the legal powers that they need to look after their loved one's affairs. Once your child becomes 16 you are not automatically able to make decisions for them and so guardianships are often required to ensure that parents of those with learning disabilities are able to have the legal authorisation to act on their behalf.
How is Guardianship different from Power of Attorney?
The main difference is that a Power of Attorney is a document granted by a person when they are of sound mind stating how they would like their affairs to be managed should they lose the capacity to make those decisions for themselves. A guardianship application is required when the person has lost the capacity to make decisions and so is unable to grant a Power of Attorney.
Further information can be found at www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/
McLaughlin & Co
Evans Business Centre
1 Begg Road
John Smith Business Park
Tel: 01592 645 772
Fax: 01592 807 067
McLaughlin & Co
Fife Renewables Innovation Centre
Tel: 01333 424482
Fax: 01592 807 067
Open Saturdays, evening appointments available.