When can we act?

Concerns about financial guardians or withdrawers

We have statutory powers to supervise financial guardians, financial intervenors and withdrawers. Our duty is to ensure that these people act in the best interests of an adult with incapacity and carry out their duties properly within the scope of their powers. However if you have a concern about how a financial guardian or a withdrawer is acting, please contact the guardianship or access to funds team.

Concerns about continuing attorneys or about the actions of any other person

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 gives the Public Guardian certain powers to investigate concerns and take steps to safeguard financial matters where it appears they are at risk. When we talk about risk, we mean current and future risk as we do not have a remit to investigate historical matters. The Public Guardian is there to protect the interests of the adult and does not represent any other person or public body. An adult is someone who is aged 16 or over.

Our investigation team aims to ensure that an incapable adult’s property or financial affairs are suitably safeguarded and not at risk from abuse or misuse. Initially information is gathered from a number of sources to decide whether or not there is a reason to investigate.

What's involved in an investigation?

An investigation involves gathering information from relevant parties by interviewing people and reviewing documentation such as bank statements, financial records, receipts etc. Sometimes we carry out interviews with relevant parties if more information is needed.

If you have concerns that an adult’s funds/property are at a risk, you can refer the matter to us. You will need to provide evidence to support your concerns.

Concerns might include:

  • The way in which an attorney, who has authority to manage an adult’s finances or property, is using that authority.
  • An adult’s property or financial affairs appears to be at risk, perhaps because of the involvement of a third party who has no authority to manage the adult’s finances.

When we receive a referral, we will review the information provided to establish whether we have a remit to start an investigation.