An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows an individual to choose to appoint a specific individual (usually a close family member) to look after both your person and financial affairs in the event that for any reason you lose your mental capacity in the future. We at Probate Ireland must stress that an enduring power of attorney is only valid or effective if you lose your mental capacity at some future point in time. An enduring power of attorney can be an extremely powerful document that significantly bypasses the hurdles and problems your family could face when trying to deal with your affairs should you become incapable. The main purpose of an enduring power of attorney is to enable somebody of your choosing to have the entitlement to manage your financial and personal affairs for you if you lose your mental capacity at some future date.
What Happens If I Lose Mental Capacity Without An Enduring Power Of Attorney?
If you lose your capacity through illness or accident and do not have an enduring Power of Attorney in place then a viable alternative that an appointed individual becomes a “Ward of Court“. The Wards of Court process is a court based process and everything that is done for someone under that process is done by application to the wards of Court Office. It is therefore likely to be less time consuming and less expensive to have had an enduring power of attorney in place. However, if you have an Enduring Power of Attorney appointed the process is much more straightforward and your nominated attorney will be entitled to manage your financial and personal affairs for you much more easily (in accordance with the wishes set out in your enduring power of attorney). It is therefore highly preferable to have an enduring power of attorney in place prior to this.