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Guardianship

anisty
anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
Hello everyone! Been a long, long time since i have used this forum and i am not sure where to post this. Thought more people would see it here though and just would be helpful to share experiences.

We are in the early stages of a guardianship application for our 24 yr old son.  The MHO visited a couple of weeks ago.

The consultant psychiatrist visited this week.  We still cannot get a gp appt, despite the solicitor having made payment in full (the surgery requested that but still no appt)


So we initially just wanted welfare powers. I am already appointee for our son's dwp benefits and that works well.


The mho says it's best to seek an order for both welfare and finance though?

Also - our son does have capacity for many decisions if they are simple. I'm wondering how low capacity has to be for an order to be granted?


I have read that it will not be granted unless there is no other option.


The psychiatist did highlight a few problems my son has. He asked him what he would do in some scenarios and my son was very unconfident in his answers and did not answer well to some things.He was able to answer but his answers were very simple and naieve.

He was also asked to say how much certain things cost. He wasn't too bad on smaller items - he said £6 for a pizza but he knows that as he buys one every week!

He said £80 for a pair of jeans. He never buys clothes and i have never bought jeans that expensive but it was an acceptable answer.

He said he could buy a brand new large car for £500! Only about 40k off !  And a house for 'about a thousand'


So he did know a house costs more than a car even though he way a way out which shows he knows what is a bigger amount of money and what is smaller.

It doesn't really matter if the application isnt successful - we only need it for something we are doing with our wills and it was our solicitor that said a guardianship was the best way to proceed.



Just wondered if anyone had experience of this to share?
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Comments

  • durhamjaide2001
    durhamjaide2001 Scope Member Posts: 9,774 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi first of all I would like to welcome you back to this community we always like to welcome old people back. I'm the same at not knowing how much things cost. For example I think a toaster would cost £100, I used to think a holiday would come to £100 per person but now I have seen it dose not and I thought a train ticket from Durham to Newcastle it would cost me less than a fiver. I'm getting assessed learning disabilities. However  this wasn't a question which was asked in the assessment. I'm not saying your son needs to be assessed for this but there's a recurring theme. If there's anyone else having the same experience feel free to chip in. 
  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,741 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @anisty and thanks for telling us about your current situation. I'll be honest guardianships aren't my speciality, however, it sounds like you are well supported by professionals despite the (frustrating) GP delay.

    Some of our members have shared their experiences of guardianships in the Children, parents and families category if you want to take a look there, to see if you can relate?

    Whilst, I'd also recommend looking at the government's Special guardianship guidance if you haven't already. Scope have a free helpline as well should you ever want to call on their support.

    Please let us know how you get on and wishing your family the very best.
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  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Thanks @durhamjaide2001.  I know what they were getting at with the questions. The first ones were scenarios like"imagine you are home alone and your computer starts to spark. What would you do?"


    So those questions were to check if our son can look after himself as we are seeking welfare powers. (We had already said what he can and cant do in terms of self care, cooking etc)


    I think the questions were all geared towards "could a person manage if the help was not there"  what would he do on his own.


    Next set of questions must be because most guardianships seem to go for both welfare and financial powers. So they wanted to know can he understand the value of money.


    His main diagnosis is autism but he is very slow to process language. He has a mild learning difficulty (i.q is 85)  


    We think he will be able to manage to live away from us in the future but not at the moment.


    One good thing to come out of this is that he will get a social worker and it might be that he can go into "cluster housing"  i had never heard of that but it does sound good for him in the future.


    Thanks so much for your reply!  It is tricky to keep up with prices, especially at the moment when they keep rising!
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Thanks @Cher_Scope! Yes, a solicitor is doing it all for us. We are in scotland where all guardianship applications qualify for legal aid. Not sure if the same across the UK.


    It takes a long time though and quite stressful - especially with this GP delay!


    Will check out the links, thanks👍
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    I can hear how it's quite stressful and time-consuming @anisty. Would anything, in particular, help to reduce the stress - other than remove the GP delay?

    I hope the resources combined with a solicitor doing it all for you help. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there's anything else we can do to support you  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Thanks @L_Volunteer. I'm one of these people who needs to talk all the time when i have a problem to deal with🤣

    Luckily, i have some good rl pals. And i am meeting one for coffee tomorrow so that should help. She has an autistic son too.And i was chewing the ear of another pal last Monday.

    The gp delay is causing stress and then i am always stressed when my son gets any sort of assessment as i worry what they are going to say.


    Which is weird as, over his lifetime, he has had lots of assessments done and they have always confirmed what we know.


    I have read that there needs to be a real clear case that guardianship is needed or it won't be granted.  I'm just not sure our son falls into that category as he does have capacity for many decisions. Just not complex ones.

    It won't be a disaster if we dont get guardianship. It was our solicitor that suggested we went down this route.


    I suppose the fact my post hasn't resulted in finding anyone else that has gone down this route shows it's not that common; i am a bit surprised about that. I thought lots of people on here would have experience of that.

    I will certainly write up our journey as we go along in case it helps anyone else.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Update: Got a copy of psychiatrist's report today. It states my son does lack capacity and he recommends guardianship for a 3 year period.

    Nothing from doctor but mho and solicitor both emailed asking if i had heard from the doctor.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Update 2. Can you believe it i am raging!!!!

    The gp has sent an email to my solicitor saying they are not in a position to produce a report and they will refund the fee!!!!!



    Grrrrr! They should never have requested it in the first place, the money-grabbing so an soes (that is me being polite lol)



    So - solicitor has instructed a 2nd private psychiatrist who will see our son 22nd feb. It has exceeded the 30 days but that is the soonest she can do - so now the mho has to see our son again.


    Am i allowed to say FFS?!!!!!



    Heads up for anyone else about to embark on this - mho said gps are "pretty useless and just want the work to get the money"


    Best to get 2 psychiatrists in the first place.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2023

    @Anisty – You can always talk to me if I am online! This applies to most of us on here, in fact. Really glad to hear you have some good rl pals who help too.

    Completely hear you with the worry of what might happen/get said when they assess your son. 

    Thanks in advance for being willing to share your experience. I am sure it will be invaluable  :)

    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    edited February 2023
    Thanks @L_Volunteer!

    I have settled down now. Nothing will happen until 22nd Feb and I will update then.


    For anyone else thinking about this though - don't let cost put you off. Everyone, regardless of income, is entitled to legal aid (I am in Scotland though)

    So far, haven't paid a penny but i will update with solicitor's costs at the end of the process.

    Really, the time to think about guardianship is when your young person is 15yrs old. You can start the process then, ready to kick in when the young person turns 16yrs.

    You can apply for welfare and/or financial guardianship. From what I have been reading, guardianship should only be considered if other measures are not going to be sufficient.

    Therefore, if being DWP appointee works for you and your young person, keep with that.


    Things to think about though (which we hadn't!) are - what if your young person is admitted to hospital - have they got capacity to consent to treatment?

    What if they suddenly decide they do not want to come on holiday when you do and they are adament they are staying put in your house?

    What if they run into financial problems at the bank - are they going to let you go with them to sort things out?


    In our case, we had managed perfectly well until recently. We went to a solicitor initially to change our wills so that our son is more protected if anything happens to us.


    We have 5 children. Mainly adult. In fact, all adult except our 15 yr old. All capable of making their own way in this world except for our son.

    Our main concern is that, should myself and my hubby be killed in a car accident, what will happen to our son?

    He is so vulnerable.  So we thought at least if money from the sale of our house can be put into trust for him - his siblings could buy a little flat in an area where people will leave him alone. He would not be able to manage to stay on in this house - it is too big for him.

    But in order for that to happen, our son has to have capacity to be able to appoint his siblings as Power of Attorney. And he does not have that capacity we dont think. Or at least that is why we needed him assessed.

    If he does not have capacity to grant P of A, then a guardianship is the only option.  It is also useful for other things like, for eg, if he refused to live where his siblings thought best. With a guardianship, they could find him a flat and insist that he lived there.


    At the moment, it is us parents applying for the guardianship, but it should be easy to transfer to his sibs if the worst happens.


    We are not ill - hopefully we will be here for many years are see our son into independent living in his lifetime. We can alter our wills to benefit all our children equally in the future if things seem more stable but, at this time, they all understand that his need will be greatest.


    I suppose the other concern with our son is that his function is improving gradually (that's a good thing!) He is autistic with a mild learning difficulty. He has always been awarded full rates of benefits thus far - but in years to come if he improves to the point he is more independent, he could lose his eligibility for financial support so we do always want to make sure he is provided for as best as we are able to do so. We just don't know how the future will pan out.


    Most guardianships are granted for a 3 year maximum in the first instance. At the end of that period,  you can reapply for an extension. 5 yr guardianships are another common length.  Indefinite guardianships are possible but not commonly granted as they do want people to have as much control over their own lives as possible.

    During the period of the guardianship, the guardians are supervised to ensure they are acting in the best interests of the person they are looking after. The guardians can be removed if they are found lacking.

    You can apply to be guardians without going via a solicitor. If you do, you need to attend the court hearing. If you go through a solicitor, the solicitor will attend.


    Will keep you posted on our application


    https://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/guardianship-orders



    The link describes the process of becoming a guardian in Scotland.




  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Little update - the MHO will come back to our house to see my son next Tuesday morning - i think that will just be brief and it's just to satisfy this 30 day rule.

    Next weds, 2nd psychiatrist comes to assess.

    And that's it then. All the assessments will be complete.  
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 7,562 Scope online community team
    Thanks for the update @anisty, I'll bet the day all the assessments are done can't come soon enough! :)
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  • Lou67
    Lou67 Community member Posts: 5,975 Disability Gamechanger
    @anisty

    Good luck with everything your son is so blessed to have you looking after him and doing everything in your power to protect him.

    Take care ❤️
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2023

    Oooh, just a few more days now @anisty! My fingers are crossed for you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    I am sure your experience will be invaluable for anyone experiencing anything similar, especially as you have situated it within the specifics (Scotland).

    Really positive to hear your son’s function is improving gradually too. Hopefully, the assessments will be completed in next to no time :)

    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Yes - at least the assessments will be out if the way. My son says it's a really stressful week as he has these assessments tues and weds - and then another at the cafe where he works (on his cafe skills!) on Friday.

    It's a waiting game then - the MHO writes a report for our solicitor and then it is looked at in court and the judge will decide whether or not approve the guardianship.

    I don't know what happens if the 2 psychiatrists don't agree! Cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Mho came out this morning. Just to see there's been no change. She knew there wouldn't have been but it's a legal thing to keep within the 30 days.


    Psychiatrist tomorrow.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Psychiatrist has been out. Think it went ok - bit more relaxing in that it was more of a conversation rather than scenarios.

    He was a bit of a fibber - trying to pretend his diet was more varied than it actually is. He has now agreed to try chicken flavour super noodles. (He only eats bacon flavour) 

    He did agree he never feels hunger. He is rake thin.  Anyway, think she will agree he lacks capacity as she did say the purpose of having 2 psychiatrists is only to make sure there isnt anything wildly out of order.


    Apparently there is a huge backlog at the court so we could have months before being granted the guardianship.


    Will keep you posted.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2023
    It does sound confusing if they disagree but, hopefully, they will agree and reduce that confusion and potential conflict @anisty. It sounds positive they are only really having two opinions in case there is anything wildly out of order.

    A conversation, certainly, sounds more relaxing than scenarios. Glad to hear you had a more positive experience than you had, initially, anticipated. Having it as a conversation, certainly, seems to have played a key part in this.

    Oh no about the fibbing! Though, I have to admit, it did make me chuckle as was quite clever of him to think of. At least it has resulted in him agreeing to try a new flavour of noodles. Hopefully, he will enjoy the new noodles.

    How are you feeling about everything at the moment? Hopefully, the waiting won't be as long as it seems but if we can do anything to support you in the meantime please don't hesitate to let us know  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Thanks @L_Volunteer. I'm ok, thanks. My boy was in a bad mood all day yesterday though. I don't think he spoke a word the whole day long.

    We had ordered take away pizza for tea, he came and ate that but looked very stressed.

    We just need to leave him to come out of these moods himself. I think he did find it quite stressful last week.

    He got a new computer game on Friday called Kerby.  Maybe it's not as he hoped. 


    I found some really great podcasts for parents which i posted in the parent section which talks through the guardianship process very clearly from start to finish.


    I also found out guardianship is only a thing in Scotland. There is something else in England and Wales.  Which explains why there isnt more on the Scope forum about it.


    The podcasts i think would be of interest to anyone with responsibility for a teenager/young adult.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    It sounds really difficult that he's been this stressed @anisty. I hope he feels better and less stressed soon.

    Thanks for sharing the resources you have found with us. I am sure your experiences and recommended resources will be invaluable for anyone experiencing anything similar  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.

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