A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal arrangement that permits another person to act for you in financial matters and other matters of personal care.
There are two types of power of attorney: General POA and Enduring (EPA)
General power of attorney
A general power of attorney lets you select someone to act for you while you have the capacity to manage your own affairs. You can let them act in general or for a specific purpose such as the sale of a house. This can be useful if, for example, you are travelling for long periods of time.
You must have the legal capacity to give the power of attorney. It lasts until you withdraw it. It no longer has any effect if you become mentally incapable, if you marry/enter a civil partnership, or if you are declared bankrupt.
An Enduring Power of Attorney: (EPA)
By executing an Enduring Power of Attorney, you will appoint one (or two) persons to look after your affairs in the event that you are no longer capable of looking after your own interests in the future. Your capacity in the future will be decided by your Doctor or Consultant.
The attorney does not have the power to give consent to medical treatment or to decide whether medical or surgical treatments to prolong life should be given. There are sections in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2015 which are yet to be implemented which will expand the attorney’s authority to optionally include health care decisions.
The attorney may make certain personal care decisions – such as diet, dress, housing , social welfare. These decisions must be made in your best interests and be in accordance with what you would have been likely to do. The attorney must consult family members and carers in making these decisions.
There are two stages to an EPA .
The first stage is the creation of the EPA. Your solicitor and doctor must be involved . The person creating the EPA is the “donor”. The donor is required to specify what powers the attorney is to have. These powers may be very general or they may be subject to conditions or restrictions.
The donor must also give notice of the EPA to 2 other people . At least one of the notice parties must be the donor’s spouse if living with the donor.If the donor is unmarried widowed or separated notice must be given to a child of the donor if applicable or otherwise to any relative.
Activating an Enduring Power of Attorney:-
When the EPA is created, nothing happens unless or until you become mentally incapable. At this stage, the EPA must be registered.
The attorney(s) has to make an application to the Registrar of Wards of Court once there is reason to believe that you are or are becoming mentally incapable.
(Enduring Powers of Attorney queries: firstname.lastname@example.org –
(Telephone : 01 888 6189 / 6140 /6210 )
Before making this application the attorney must notify the donor of his/her intention to do so. The attorney must have a medical certificate confirming that you are incapable of managing your affairs. A notice of the attorney’s application must be served on the donor and on a number of other people including the people who were notified of the creation of the EPA (any of the notice parties may object to the registration of the EPA). Five weeks is given to wait for any objections – then it could take another 4 weeks to register to EPA.
Solicitors fee for drafting and executing and registering Enduring Power of Attorney can vary drastically across the country.
It seems it can cost anything from €350 plus VAT to as much €2000 plus VAT to set up an EPA .
Registration of an EPA can then cost anything from €800 to €2500 plus VAT .
Some solicitors seem to charge whatever they like – so shop around if possible.
If someone doesn’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney , the only option available if they become mentally incapacitated (through old age, illness or trauma) is to make an application through the High Court under the Wards of Court process. In this scenario the court has the power to make decisions on your behalf, where you have been proved as an adult to be of unsound mind. Your property and money is brought under the control of the court and the Courts Service will have the duty of overseeing these in your best interest.