Enduring Powers of Attorney

While it may be the last thing on many people’s minds, ill health causing mental incapacitation is, unfortunately, part of life. People can suffer mental incapacity in a variety of ways, most commonly through disability, illness or a progressive disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s.  If you become mentally incapacitated your assets such as cash and property in your sole name would normally be frozen and cannot be used by anyone to pay bills on your behalf or to cover the costs of your care.  McMahon and Williams Solicitors recognise the importance of advising on your legal affairs in the event of such incapacity, particularly as people are living much longer. 

What are Enduring Powers of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to plan for the future while you are in good health.  It is a cost effective mechanism designed for situations involving mental incapacity.  The Enduring Power of Attorney provides for another individual to make decisions on your behalf when you are not in a position to do so.  It does not come into effect until such time as you lose mental capacity to make decisions at which point the appointed Attorneys register the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Wards of Court Office.    

The most important thing about an Enduring Power of Attorney is that the person creating the Power of Attorney gets to choose who they want to appoint as their Attorneys.  This is very important when it comes to managing your assets and making decisions about your care.  The person you give authority to is known as the Attorney.  Once registered the Enduring Power of Attorney authorises an individual such as a family member to make the decisions in relation to the assets and property and to make personal care decisions on behalf of the person no longer capable of doing so.  These personal care decisions include;

  • Where you should live, 
  • Whom you live with,
  • Who you should see or not see,
  • What training or rehabilitation you should get,
  • Your diet and dress,
  • Who can inspect your personal papers,
  • Housing, social services and other benefits.

You do not have to be in the later stages of your life in order to create an Enduring Power of Attorney as unfortunately anyone can suffer an injury that could result in them not being in a position to deal with their affairs and this can occur at any age.  Therefore any person over the age of eighteen years that has assets and in full mental capacity can make an Enduring Power of Attorney.

In choosing your Attorneys it is usual that they would be either your spouse, partner or family member but need not be any of the aforementioned.  An Enduring Power of Attorney can give a general authority or a limited authority to your Attorney.  If you want to limit the powers of the Attorney it is extremely important that the Enduring Power of Attorney document is drafted to reflect this.  For example, if you do not want your Attorney to have the power to sell your house, then this must be set out clearly in the Enduring Power of Attorney.  McMahon and Williams have the expertise and experience to guide you through every step of the process.  We recognise the importance and benefits of having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place for both those with property in their sole name or in the joint names of yourself and another person.  An Enduring Power of Attorney offers peace of mind in allowing a person to decide who will manage their property and affairs in the event of mental incapacity. 

The long awaited Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 was signed into law on the 13th of December 2015.  This provides for the establishment of a more modern framework for Enduring Power of Attorney.  In particular, it provides for the extension of the remit of Enduring Powers of Attorney to include a Donor’s healthcare matter.  In 2016, Gearoid Williams and Aisling Glynn completed the Law Society Certificate course in decision making capacity and support following the signing into law of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act in January 2016. 

For advice or to book an appointment please contact Gearoid Williams or Aisling Glynn or alternatively you can telephone us on 0659051009 or send an email to info@mcmahonwilliams.ie