Cost of appointing a guardian

It is always challenging when an adult has lost the capability to look after their own affairs. Unless there is a Power of Attorney in place, the only option may be to apply for a guardianship order. Applying for a guardianship order means raising proceedings in the sheriff court seeking to have someone appointed as either a welfare or financial guardian (or both) for the adult who can no longer look after their own affairs. Before that application is made, it is important to know what the cost of appointing a guardian will be.

It is difficult to gauge in advance how much a case of this nature will cost. Different cases have different needs. An indicative fee for a case of this kind can range from £2,000 to £5,000(exclusive of VAT). In some circumstances, it could be higher. Using the indicative cost this would amount to between £2,400 and £6,000 including VAT.

You should also be aware that it is normal practice to seek consent of the court to recover the cost of appointing a guardian from the financial assets of the incapacitated adult.

What additional costs are involved when appointing a Guardian?

As with many types of legal work, the fee is only one part of the costs. In respect of a guardianship application, there is a cost for making the Summary Application to the Sheriff Court. This currently amounts to £141.

Before making an application to the court, we must commission two medical reports. One of these will be provided by a GP and the other from a Consultant Psychiatrist. The costs of these are in the region of £150 – £250 for a GP report and the same again for the costs of a Consultant Psychiatrist’s report.

When the court is considering the application, it may order that a Bond of Caution must be obtained. This is a type of insurance policy to protect the estate of the incapacitated adult. The costs of the Bond of Caution will depend on the nature, extent and value of the incapacitated adult’s estate.

Once the sheriff has granted the guardianship order, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). The cost of the registration amounts to £97.

There are various other ancillary costs that may require to be met. Examples of these are:

Title Sheet from the Land Register of Scotland £3.60
Copy Disposition £60.00
Property Valuation (depending on the value of the property) example cost £300.00
Registration of the guardianship order in the Land Register/Register of Sasines £80.00

    An example of the typical cost of appointing a guardian

    Legal Fee £3,500.00
    VAT £700.00
    Cost of GP Medical Report £175.00
    Cost of Consultant Psychiatrist Report £200.00
    Summary Application Dues to Sheriff Court £141.00
    Registration Fee payable to the OPG £97.00
    Cost of Bond of Caution (depending on the amount and value of property) £750.00
    Total £5,563.00

    Please note: If a safeguarder is appointed then the safeguarder’s fee (typically around £1500 – but can be higher) will be charged to the incapacitated adult’s estate.

      What’s included in this cost for appointing a guardian?

      The example above includes the following:

      • Discussing the circumstances with you and taking your instructions
      • Advising you on your options
      • Determining the suitability of the proposed guardian and having them sign a declaration
      • Seeking medical opinion on the individual for whom the guardian is to be appointed
      • Obtaining two separate medical reports
      • Obtaining a medical report from a Mental Health Office familiar with the individual’s case history
      • Preparing an inventory of assets
      • Drafting Summary Application to the Sheriff Court
      • Lodging the Summary Application and supporting documents in court and seeking a Hearing Date
      • Intimating the application to relatives and “interested parties” and the local authority
      • Attendance at the Hearing Date
      • Arranging Bond of Caution (if appropriate) following the grant of the Guardianship Order
      • Registering the Guardianship Order with the OPG
      • Registering the Guardianship Order with the Land Register/Register of Sasines

      This is a simple outline of the steps involved in applying for a Guardianship Order. There is a much more details outline of the steps you must take in a guardianship application on the Scottish Government’s website.

      Are there circumstances where additional costs might rise?

      Occasionally, additional costs may be incurred. These might be where:

      • Someone objects to the Guardianship application
      • Another person competes for the Guardianship appointment
      • Medical reports need clarification
      • Supporting reports are not available within the prescribed timescales
      • The Sheriff requiring additional information. For example, letters of reference

      This is not and exhaustive list. However, it gives some indication of when additional costs can incurred.

      When it is likely that additional costs might be incurred, we will attempt to let you about this when we become aware of it. We will explain the reason and nature of the additional costs and how we intend to deal with the underlying issues. We will let you have our best estimate of the likely additional costs when the position becomes clear.

      Where we need to carry out additional work for you, we will charge a time-based fee at the rate of £250 per hour exclusive of VAT. That means the cost would be £300 per hour (inclusive of VAT)

      If you would like more information or a detailed breakdown of the cost of your purchase, please complete this short enquiry form.

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      Here is where you can find out more about how to appoint a guardian.