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Legal matters

Taking care of the legal side makes sure you can go on supporting your young person into adulthood, and protecting their interests as far as possible.

Things to think about

Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Intervention Orders

Under Scottish law, a young person becomes an adult on their 16th birthday.

That means families no longer have the legal right to take decisions or act on their behalf – even if they believe the young person doesn’t fully understand their situation or can’t reliably communicate their wishes.

There may be many situations where parents and carers might want to keep doing this. Here are a few:

  • If someone has to go into hospital, especially in an emergency.
  • To help manage finances, benefits and bank accounts.
  • To make sure the right support is in place.
  • If someone needs to set up contracts and agreements, e.g. rent, insurance, gas and electricity.

For someone to speak or act for another adult, there needs to be Guardianship, Power of Attorney or an Intervention Order in place.

Wills and Trusts

A Will tells everyone what you want to happen to your money, possessions and property after you die. Without a Will, you can’t be sure decisions about your belongings will be in line with your wishes.

Trusts are a way of managing money, property or other assets. One reason for setting up a Trust is to protect assets for someone who is vulnerable or who can’t manage their own affairs.

It’s important to plan properly for when you are no longer around.

Find out more about wills and trusts.

Criminal justice system

The police may become involved if your young person

  • is the victim of a crime.
  • is a witness to a crime.
  • is alleged to have committed a crime.

Contact with the criminal justice system is often unexpected and it’s normal to feel unprepared and afraid on your young person’s behalf.

Find out what you need to know and where you can get help.

Legal aid

Legal costs can be high and getting legal aid may not be easy. However young people under the age of 16 should qualify for legal aid, if they have little or no personal income or savings.

Find out more about Legal Aid and how it works. 

 

We are grateful for the support and advice of Gillespie Macandrew LLP in compiling the information in this section

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