The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 aims to help people (aged 16 years and over) who lack capacity to make some or all decisions for themselves. It enables carers or others to have legal powers to make welfare, health care and financial decisions on their behalf.

An inability to make decisions in our lives can occur for a range of reasons. Disabilities such as dementia, brain injury or severe mental illness may limit our capacity to understand and appreciate what is involved in decision-making. People with a physical condition, such as a stroke or severe hearing impairment, may lack the capacity to communicate their decisions and need someone else to act for them. Being born with a learning disability may limit a person’s ability to act or make some or all decisions for themselves, depending on the severity of the condition.

The Act also provides protection for individuals with impaired capacity who may be at risk of harm.

For more information on guardianship, read the Scottish Government guardian guide for carers - the guidance also provides advice on how to apply for Guardianship.