A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument in Ireland that can be set up by a person, named the Donor, and allows the appointment of another person, named the Attorney, to take actions on the Donor's behalf if he or she is absent, abroad or incapacitated through illness.
There are two types of Power of Attorney allowed under Irish law:
- Power of Attorney which gives either a specific or a general power. This is usually created for a specific purpose or for a specific length of time. It automatically ceases to have effect if the Donor becomes incapacitated.
- Enduring Power of Attorney which bestows on the Attorney the capability to act on behalf of the Donor if and when they become mentally incapacitated.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a useful tool if a person has to leave the country for some time or if they know in advance that they will not be able to manage their affairs while receiving medical treatment. It is sometimes used for the purpose of purchasing property or having control of bank account and / or business affaires in these circumstances.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is created by the Donor so that if he or she becomes mentally incapable of managing his or her own affairs, the Attorney can step in and take such steps as if he or she were stepping into the shoes of the Donor and making such care decisions or financial decisions for and on behalf of the Donor.
An Enduring Power of Attorney only takes effect when a person is certified by a medical doctor as being mentally incapable of managing his or her own affairs and is an important planning tool to take if one is diagnosed with a progressive degenerative or mental illness. The requirements for creating an Enduring power of Attorney are quite onerous given the permanent effects that it has once the Donor becomes incapacitated. It is important to seek legal advice before the creation of such a document in order to ensure that all of the legal requirements have been fully met.