5. Money, benefits and legal issues > Legal issues

Legal issues

1) Legal Issues – Access to Funds Scheme

All of the following pages apply to Scottish Law.

Access to Funds Scheme

This scheme is designed to allow an individual or organisation to apply for authority to access to the person’s funds if they become incapacitated before making their wishes known. 

The definition of incapacity is: a lack of capacity to act,make, communicate, understand or retain the memory of decisions because of a mental disorder or restricted communication due to physical or other disability. It can apply to property, personal welfare or financial affairs.

For example it can be used to pay bills or buy essentials such as food, clothes or toiletries. Sometimes a lump sum can be requested to pay off an outstanding debt or to purchase specific equipment which is needed for the person. Access to funds scheme is used for one off payments or for ongoing financial arrangements for a specified and agreed amount. The access to funds authority can last for a specified time or be granted for up to three years if the person has sufficient funds for their needs. Access which has been approved is usually to a specified account and not to every account which the person may have, for example if they have more than one bank account. As a safeguard no one can withdraw all the money in a bank account, only what has been agreed by the Office of the Public Guardian. ( See link to their website on this page) You are strongly recommended to seek legal advice from a solicitor. The Office of the Public Guardian can offer information, advice and guidence but not legal advice. They will monitor recipts and records once the Access to Funds application has been approved. You will need to apply for Access to Funds to the office of the public guardian and will also need a  certificate from the person’s doctor confirming their disability. Both of these may involve financial charges.

For more information including Application to access funds contact:

Office of the Public Guardian. Hadrian House.Callendar Business Park. Callendar Road. Falkirk. FK1 1XR. Telephone: 01324 678300