Planning for your future is an important task that all of us should focus on and dedicate time to. From a legal perspective it is important that each person focuses on the following three areas:
- Power of Attorney — to complete a legal document in the event that he/she is not mentally capable of making future decisions on his/ her own behalf.
- Advance Healthcare Directive — that his/her medical wishes are respected if he/she becomes seriously unwell.
- Will —that provision is made for the distribution of his/her assets and the provision of care for children on death.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
This is a legal document that allows an individual to nominate a person or persons to act on their behalf to manage their affairs in the future if they become mentally incapable of doing so by reason of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other similar condition.
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 sets out a number of important changes that enhance the protections available to the donor of the power by obliging the attorney who is appointed to look after the donor’s affairs to account for their actions to a central office to be located in Dublin. While the provisions of the act have not yet been commenced, it is possible to refer to same in any new enduring power of attorney which is created prior to the enactment of the legislation so that the donor of the power can benefit from the new legislation at this point.
Advance Healthcare Directive
This is a new type of document which is allowed under the terms of The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 which will allow people to provide for their future medical needs. While the act was brought into law on 3oth December 2015 the provision has not yet been commenced. Once this happens a further update will be provided.
The importance of making a will should be known to all people. A will is a legal document setting out what is to happen to a person’s property after death. A will can be amended any number of times by the testator (person making the will) prior to their death so long as they are mentally competent to do so. In addition a will can also provide for the care of children under the age of 18 years by appointing guardians to look after children and trustees to manage the property of the testator until such time as the children of the testator reach a certain age as set out in the will.