You would hope that your next of kin, your nearest and dearest, would be able to help manage your affairs if you were in an accident or diagnosed with a brain disease and you could no longer make decisions for yourself. They are the ones who know the most about you after all, so would be the obvious choice.
Unfortunately this is not the way it works. Often in addition to coping with a close relative or friend suffering from a serious injury or illness there are the stresses and strains of trying to make sure bills are paid, care is funded and assets are protected. Many people find they cannot access information regarding the assets of a close family member, even just to keep paying bills and dealing with day to day administration.
But if a bit of life admin is carried out you can make sure there are no additional worries for your loved ones if you become affected. You should grant a Power of Attorney. An attorney is someone, you decide upon, who will deal with your personal affairs. The Power of Attorney can cover financial and health and well being matters and is called a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney. You can choose different people to be your continuing attorney and your welfare attorney if that is what you want. You can also ensure that your wishes are carried out by including certain clauses in the Power of Attorney.
If you leave it too late and a family member needs assistance but has no Power of Attorney then a guardian can be appointed to act on behalf of the incapax adult. An application has to be made to the local sheriff court accompanied by two medical reports and a report from a mental health officer. It is a time consuming process taking usually 6 to 12 months. A guardianship is likely to be granted for a specific period, meaning a further application may well be required. A guardian will be subject to more scrutiny by the Office of the Public Guardian and management plans and accounts will be required.