Dementia - The Fear That Faces Us All 

One of the greatest causes of rifts within families in the current age is what to do with the elderly parent who has developed dementia. 
For this reason, we strongly advise all of our clients of the importance of appointing an attorney (a person who can look after all their personal affairs), under the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act, 1996. It is very much in their own interests, as well as the interests of their family, that they appoint an attorney. The legal document used is called an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). 
 
If the person making the power (the donor), subsequently suffers from dementia, the attorney(s) will have authority to take over the donor’s personal affairs and make decisions as to their care. The attorney(s) cannot act until a doctor has certified that the donor is no longer capable of managing their affairs. Before they act, the attorney(s) must register the EPA in the Wards of Court Office. They must also notify two persons, chosen by the donor at the time of signing the EPA, of their intention to act. 
 
Provided no objections to the registration are made, the attorney(s) will then receive a Certificate of Registration of the EPA. This allows them to act according to the powers given them under the EPA. The powers they have can be decided by the Donor at the time the EPA is entered into. For instance, the donor could decide that one attorney might manage their personal affairs, whereas, another might control their business and financial affairs. 
 
An EPA can help prevent various members of a family fighting with each other as to what is the best possible care for an elderly parent. The attorney(s) have full control over the parent’s lifestyle but may wish to consult with other members of the family. However, if there is division, the attorney(s) will have the final say. 
 
I am attaching a link to a very interesting article by Dermot Coyle in the Irish Times last year which clearly shows what can happen if an EPA is not carefully considered: 
 
We can only strongly recommend to all of our clients, who have reached a certain age, and to their children to urge their parents to make an EPA.  
 
At Marcus Lynch Solicitors, we have wide experience in this field and if anyone wishes to explore the matter further, please call Hugh O’Neill at 01 873 2134, email hugh.oneill@lynchlaw.ie, or fill in the ‘Contact Us’ form on https://www.lynchlaw.ie/contact-us/ 
 
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