An Enduring Power of Attorney (“EPA”) is a legal document executed by you when you are in good mental health to give authority to another person, for example, your spouse or child, (“an Attorney”), to look after your affairs. The EPA can only be used if you become mentally incapacitated.
What are the benefits?
An EPA is a simple, cost effective way of ensuring that important decisions can be made on your behalf by a trusted person where you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. In the absence of an EPA, you would have to be made Wards of Court, a process which can be complex, cumbersome and costly.
You can specify the extent of the authority you wish to give to your Attorneys. The EPA can be framed in wide terms or can be restrictive and subject to conditions. At a minimum, you will give authority to your Attorneys to manage your property and financial affairs including the sale of property. You should also give your Attorneys power to make important “personal care decisions” to include, for example, where and with whom you should live.
There are two stages to an EPA and there are strict formalities to be followed at both stages. The first stage is the creation of the EPA. Your solicitor and doctor must be involved and your Attorneys undertake to register the EPA if you lose capacity. Notices are served on your next of kin. When the EPA is created, nothing happens unless or until you become or are becoming mentally incapable.
If you become or are becoming mentally incapable, the EPA must be registered and can only come into effect when certain procedures have been followed. For example, a doctor must certify that you have lost the mental capacity to manage your own affairs. The courts have a general supervisory role in the implementation of the EPA. These formalities and procedures exist in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that you are not exploited.
If you require further information regarding Enduring Powers of Attorney or on any other legal matter, please contact Sally Carney, Maeve Gleeson or Alison Crawford at Joynt & Crawford LLP, Solicitors, 8 Anglesea Street, Dublin 2 (telephone 01-6770335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).