Adults with incapacity

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 provides ways to help safeguard the welfare and finances of people who lack capacity. It protects people (aged 16 or over) who lack capacity to take some or all decisions for themselves because of a mental disorder or an inability to communicate.

  • It allows a person – such as a relative, friend or partner – to make decisions on your behalf.
  • It lets you make arrangements for someone else to make decisions and manage affairs on your behalf, if you lose capacity in the future.

For the purposes of the Act, ‘incapable’ means incapable of:

  • Acting on decisions
  • Making decisions
  • Communicating decisions
  • Understanding decisions
  • Retaining the memory of decisions

due to mental disorder or inability to communicate because of physical disability.

Remember that having a diagnosis of, for example, dementia, does not mean that the person is unable to make decisions for him/herself. It is also important to remember that just because someone acts unwisely – whether or not mental disorder is present – does not mean that capacity is lacking.


Power of Attorney (PoA)

Having a Power of Attorney lets you plan what you want another person to do for you in the future, should you become incapable of making decisions about your own affairs.

PoA is a written document which includes a certificate signed either by a solicitor who can practise law in Scotland or by a registered UK medical doctor who holds a licence to practise.

There are 3 types:

  • Continuing PoA – gives powers to deal with money and/or property
  • Welfare PoA – gives powers to make decisions around health or personal welfare matters
  • Combined PoA – gives continuing and welfare powers

More information is available via Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) and My Power of Attorney in Scotland