As of Monday, 29 March, the lay guardian declaration is now required in all new financial guardianship applications.

In most cases, a family member will get in touch with us to find out what can be done to help a relative who may be starting to show signs of dementia or has another condition affecting their ability to make decisions and deal with their own affairs.

Although both a power of attorney and a guardianship order provide a similar benefits, there is a higher level of obligation placed on a court-appointed guardian which, unless you've dealt with them regularly, you may not be expecting.

These include preparing a financial management plan, seeking the approval of the Office of the Public Guardian for a house sale and submitting detailed annual accounts for audit.

The new declarations, which should be completed as early in the process as possible, ask you, as the prospective guardian, to provide details about yourself (to help the court to determine if they are suitable to be appointed) as well as 22 individual statements setting out the various duties and responsibilities you owe to the person whose affairs you are managing.

While it may not surprise you that you should "act with honesty and integrity" you may not be aware before the appointment what information is required by the Office of the Public Guardian before the restrictions on your court-granted powers are lifted or when you should contact the Office of the Public Guardian for its specific approval of property sales and gifts.