What is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?
It is a document that allows you to appoint someone (an Attorney) of your choice to control your affairs should you become mentally incapacitated, for example through brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia.
Why should I have one?
It ensures you are prepared should you lose your capacity. It will allow you to avoid a Ward of Court application being made for you in the future. Here the court gets the power to make decisions on your behalf, where you have been proven as an adult to be of unsound mind. Your property and money comes under the control of the court and the Courts Service will have the duty of overseeing these in your best interest. This a long, expensive and cumbersome process.
Who can be an attorney?
You can ask anyone you like to be your attorney, subject to the list of excluded categories of people below. Given the power involved, it should be someone you can trust. However, it can also be a professional person as an attorney. Normally, if you appoint a professional person as an attorney, you will have to pay for that service.
You may appoint more than one person to act as your attorney and it is important to appoint two attorneys if possible, in case of the death, incapacity or unsuitability of one of these attorneys. Attorneys can be appointed to act jointly (together) or severally (independently of each other)
Persons who are not permitted to be attorneys include:
- Individuals under the age of 18 years.
- People who have been declared bankrupts.
- People convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty.
- Persons disqualified under the Companies Acts from acting as directors.
- An individual, a trust or a corporation who owns a nursing home in which you live or an employee or an agent of the owner (that is, unless that person is also your spouse, child or sibling.)
How do I create an EPA?
There are a number of steps to creating an EPA which are described in the law. Unless you meet these required steps your EPA will not be valid. You will need the services of both a doctor and a solicitor to complete these steps. Contact us today and we will discuss your options and the next steps.