What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Having an Enduring Power of Attorney (EDU) in place is becoming more important now that we are all living longer and as a consequence the incidences of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease is becoming more common. Both spouses and/or single people should have an EDU.

How to make an EDU

Get to a Solicitor. Ask the Solicitor what fees may attach to this service. The Solicitor will then take you through the four step process.

Step 1: You are asked to nominate a person to whom you wish to give the EDU and the Solicitor will then take you through a list of powers which you wish to evolve to the nominee.

Step 2: Your solicitor will ask you to nominate 2 persons in your family who will be notified in writing of your decision to make this EDU. There are legally defined issues around nominees.

Step 3: Your Solicitor will then contact your own doctor and will instruct you to visit the doctor within 21 days of signing the EDU and if appropriate your doctor will certify that you have the mental capacity to make this decision.

Step 4: Once the Solicitor receives the doctor’s certificate it is placed in your file. In the event of you losing your mental capability to make decisions your Solicitor will apply to the High Court to have the EDU activated. This final process is relatively straight forward once the paperwork is properly formulated.

Case Study:

 Now that their three children have moved out of the house Jim and Mary have every chance to enjoy their new life in retirement. Jim worked in a bank and rose to the level of manager until he retired two years ago, Mary was a primary teacher and retired in the last year. Both have built up some nice pensions and can look forward to doing things together that were not possible until now. Some time ago they speculated by purchasing a lovely holiday home in the Connemara Gaeltacht and now have an opportunity to spend very relaxing breaks there mixed with the regular sun holiday in Lanzarote where they have also invested in a well located apartment overlooking Puerto del Carmen.

As with most people at this stage in life both comment regularly of what they call “senior moments” where they like so many others in later life they sometimes worry that they are getting a little forgetful, particularly about more recent events and about people’s names and such like.

Gradually, however, for Mary this seems to become more serious and eventually she agrees that she should go and see a specialists in geriatrics even though in all other aspects of life she feels very capable of living an active and carefree retirement. The diagnosis of her condition shows that there is some cause for concern while still only in the realm of “maybe”. So Jim and Mary decide to live on and forget the worries about what might happen in the future.

Within a very short time Jim begins to notice that not only is Mary more frequently forgetting simple everyday things that are so obvious but that she is also beginning to repeat and relate things that she has just spoken about a few minutes previously. They decide that a second consultation is necessary and this time the diagnosis is definite: Mary has entered the first stages of rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jim is devastated and wonders about the future. They have their holiday home in Connemara. They have their lovely apartment in Lanzarote. Mary needs medical care and attention now and for Jim the holiday home and apartment will be sold to ensure that the monies needed for Mary’s care are available in the not-too-distant future. Jim pays a visit to his solicitor whom he has used for many years when he invested in the two properties. As usual in the case of the two big investments, his solicitor had advised that both properties should be vested in the names of both Jim and Mary. Now, however, when Jim pours out his sad story about Mary’s on-going condition his solicitor informs him that he cannot dispose of either property as in each purchase both Jim and Mary had not mentioned taking an Enduring Power of Attorney, whereby they could have nominated each other to undertake sole responsibility for their joint assets in the event of either of them losing “corpus mentis” and being legally prohibited from making decisions regarding disposing of joint assets.

Now Jim sits at home looking at Mary’s detonating medical condition and trying to come to terms with the costs associated with her on-going care, while the two investments that he no longer wishes to use or share, are lying dormant simply because they both did not understand the imporetance of having an EDU. Jim is angry that he had never been informed of the safeguard of having an EDU in place which would act as a simple precaution against such a life-changing circumstance.

Consider now what you should do!

 

 

 

 

 

John Higgins

Author John Higgins

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