Wednesday, 1 April 2020
Due to the measures currently in place to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, many government services are operating with only skeleton staff. The following key changes to services should be noted:-
Scottish Court Service
Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts are closed and urgent business has been transferred to Falkirk Sheriff court. Further guidance in this connection can be obtained from www.scotscourts.gov.uk.
The court is now open only for essential business which means that applications for Confirmation (the Scottish equivalent of probate) are not being processed. Applications can be still be sent to the court but they will simply be “date stamped” as they arrive and will be attended to once the court resumes this service again.
All guardianship hearings under the Adults with Incapacity legislation have been postponed unless they are urgent applications.
Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
Their office remains open but they are only working on urgent matters prioritising the work they are processing as follows:-
If a Continuing Financial and/or Welfare power of attorney needs to be registered as a matter of urgency, the request must be justified in an email to the OPG. It will only be processed if the Power of Attorney is required immediately. For example, if the granter is in hospital and powers are required for the attorneys to act immediately to allow medical decisions to be taken.
The OPG will not currently accept as being urgent the requirement for an attorney to access a bank account. In such cases, a proposed attorney could operate a bank account with the use of a third party mandate signed by the adult/granter.
The OPG is continuing to process new applications for guardianship and intervention orders, along with any urgent court action. They will also process any urgent inventories of estate management plans and applications for consent in relation to heritable properties.
Registrars for Births, Deaths and Marriages offices are now closed. Registration of deaths can now be done remotely over the phone. In Fife, people can make appointments with the Registrar either by phoning 03451 55 00 99 or via your Funeral Director. A Registrar will phone you on the day and time of your appointment to go through the registration process.