So you want to make a living will?

In Ireland a will speaks from death so a “living will” is a bit of an oxymoron. Instead we prefer to call this concept an advance directive. The best way we have of expressing this solution is to make *an enduring power of attorney*, or EPA for short. An EPA is a legal instrument signed by a donor appointing an attorney or attornies to conduct the business of the donor in the event that the donor becomes mentally incapable of looking after his/her affairs. The donor may also direct the attorney to carry out personal care decisions on behalf of the donor.

An EPA is usually made at the same time as a will. An executor and an attorney need not be the same although they generally are. The EPA is held by the solicitor with the will but may never be needed. A doctor’s certificate is required at the outset and 2 relatives of the donor must be notified. To become effective the EPA has to be registered in the High Court. The certificate of registration then becomes the legal instrument recognised by others to give control of the donor’s assets to the attorney and to enable personal decisions to be made concerning the donor. This can only happen if a doctor agrees that the donor has lost his/her mental faculties.

Of necessity, this two tier process is complex, involving the filing of no fewer than 14 legal documents in Court. In Partners at Law we have developed, along with the Law Society of Ireland, a sophisticated computer program designed to simplify the experience for our clients. We hope that you will give us an opportunity to show it to you.

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