What will happen to your care, care of dependents, possessions and financial matters if you are no longer able to make informed decisions for yourself? To prepare for this possibility, you can make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).
An EPA is a legal document that gives certain powers to a person/people appointed by you, to make decisions and act on your behalf in legal, financial and medical matters. These people are called your attorneys.
An EPA only becomes active if you become mentally incapacitated i.e. you are no longer able to make informed decisions for yourself. In order to be able to make an EPA, you must be mentally capable of doing so. To verify this, a medical certificate from your doctor is required.
Your attorneys can be people such as your spouse, partner, child, sibling or friend - someone you trust. They only have whatever powers you give them. This can be confined to decisions in relation to personal care, rehabilitation, housing and so on, or it can encompass all personal and business matters.
Safeguarding Ireland is this week leading a nationwide public awareness campaign to encourage more adults to plan ahead, talk with their Solicitor and make an Enduring Power of Attorney. Just 6% of adults have an Enduring Power of Attorney according to recent research.
The survey also concluded that the main reasons why the vast majority of adults have not made an EPA include:
36% – never thought about it
27% – had no current concerns about their capacity and believed they didn’t need it
12% – believed they were too young to need one
9% – didn’t understand why they would need one
5% – didn’t know who they would appoint
4% – were concerned that it would be expensive.
Safeguarding Ireland Chairperson, Patricia Rickard-Clarke, said the level of take up of EPAs is closer to 30-40% in other European countries and she encouraged much greater take up in Ireland. See Safeguarding Ireland.
For advice on getting started in making an EPA, contact us.