Guardianship When your child reaches the age of 16, they will automatically have the legal right to make decisions affecting their life. If you feel your child will not be able to make decisions then you may need to apply for guardianship. A guardianship order allows you to make ongoing decisions on behalf of your child (like paying bills, dealing with bank accounts, or making decisions about care and personal welfare matters). The order is granted by a sheriff and is usually in place for a set period of time – for example 3 years. Applying for guardianship requires the assessment of two medical professionals and a Mental Health Officer. There are lots of administrative steps involved and many parents ask for advocacy support to complete the process. Most parents take legal advice and there is usually a cost involved.