When an individual is not able to look after their affairs (and there is no Power of Attorney in place), a Guardianship application may be required. This involves applying to the Sheriff Court to have someone appointed to make decisions on and to look after the affairs of the incapacitated individual.

Our typical fee for this service can range from £4,500 to £5,500 (exclusive of VAT) but in some circumstances it can be more. That means the typical cost amounts to between £5,400 and £6,600 including VAT.

Please note that it is also the usual practice to ask the court to award all legal expenses and outlays from the estate of the incapacitated adult.

Are there additional costs involved for appointing a Guardian?

In addition to our fee for this type of work, there will be additional costs incurred. We have to make a a Summary Application to the Sheriff Court to have a Guardian appointed. The Court Dues for making that application amount to £141.

In addition, prior to making the application to the Sheriff Court, we must obtain two medical reports – one from a GP (estimated cost £150 – £200) and the other from a Consultant Psychiatrist (estimated cost £250 – £350). Once the order has been granted, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) (the OPG). The cost of registering the order with the OPG is £97.

In addition, the court may order a Bond of Caution be obtained. This is a type of insurance policy and the premium will depend on the extent and value of the incapacitated adult’s estate.

If the adult owns heritable property such as a house it may be necessary to obtain a copy of the title deeds (this can range from £3.60 for a simple Title Information Sheet in the Land Register to £60 or so for a copy disposition registered in the Register of Sasines) and to obtain a valuation of the property (which can typically be in the region of £300).    Once the court awards guardianship the legislation requires that a copy of the court order is registered in the Land Register/Register of Sasines.  The recording dues are usually £80.

An example of the likely cost of appointing a Guardian

Legal Fee £5,000.00
VAT £1,000.00
Cost of GP Medical Report £175.00
Cost of Consultant Psychiatrist Report £300.00
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 – assumed at £400,000)  



Total £7,153.00

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 the options
  • Having a Declaration completed by the proposed Guardian as to suitability
  • 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 brief outline of the steps involved in applying for a Guardianship Order. For a more detailed explanation of the steps we are required to take, you can follow a step by step guide on the Scottish Government’s website by clicking here.

In what circumstances might additional costs arise?

  • There are a number of circumstances where 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 not being available within the prescribed timescales
  • Additional information being required by the Sheriff such as letters of reference

This list is not exhaustive but is designed to provide an example of instances where additional costs might be incurred.

In the event that additional costs might be incurred, we will try to advise you of 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 provide you with our best estimate of the likely additional costs when the position becomes clear.

Additional fees will be charged on an hourly basis, based on the following table of charges:

Position Fee (exclusive of VAT) VAT Cost (including VAT)
Partner £260 £52 £312
Associate £225 £45 £270
Solicitor £200 £40 £240
Trainee/Paralegal £175 £35 £210

In addition to these rates posts and incidental expenses are charged at 5% on the total fee.

Non means tested Legal Aid is currently available for the first application for guardianship with a welfare component. Advice & Assistance is still means tested based on the income and capital of the incapacitated adult. In other words, IF we took a purely welfare guardianship on Legal Aid then the work done prior to Civil Legal Aid being granted might still be charged on a private basis. We will not take on every case on a Legal Aid basis but will give consideration to this in certain circumstances.   Usually where the application involves financial guardianship and the adult has sufficient capital to meet the legal fees of the application from their estate we will not accept an instruction on a Legal Aid basis.