You have the right to plan ahead and appoint another person or persons to make decisions for you in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself. The new Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 [ADMC 2015] provides a legal framework for an Advance Healthcare Directive and an enhanced legal framework for an Enduring Power of Attorney.
While the ADMC 2015 is not yet fully commenced it is possible to take steps to plan ahead and create an Enduring Power of Attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act 1996. You can also create an Advance Healthcare Directive which is currently recognised in common law in Ireland.
Read more in the sections below about these and other opportunities to plan ahead.
The Think Ahead form was developed to help ensure that a person's right to make decisions for themselves is honoured. It is a tool to help you think, talk about and record your preferences in the event of an emergency, serious illness or death. On the form you can record your preferences about the care you receive in the case of an emergency or serious illness, you can also record your emergency contact details, your health information, legal and financial information and your wishes for care after your death. The process of recording your preferences can help the people who are close to you along with any medical, legal and financial professionals to ensure your decisions and preferences are followed.
Think Ahead was developed by the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Forum on End of Life in Ireland. You can read more on www.thinkahead.ie where you can download a copy of the form or order one from the Irish Hospice Foundation.
An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) is a written document which allows you to plan ahead by indicating now
The purpose of an AHD is to ensure that you are treated at all times according to your will and preferences, beliefs and values. An AHD provides healthcare professionals with important information about you and your choices in relation to treatment.
An AHD can be made by any person over the age of 18 years at any time, not just where a person is unwell or has a diagnosis of dementia.
Read more about Advance Healthcare Directives in the Irish Hospice Foundation Guidance Documents on ‘Advance care planning and advance healthcare directives with a person with dementia’
A Power of Attorney means you (the Donor) can give another person (the Attorney) the right to act on your behalf. The current legislation in Ireland is the Powers of Attorney Act 1996. The ADMC 2015, Part 7 will provide an enhanced legal framework for Enduring Powers of Attorney.
In Irish law there are two different Powers of Attorney, and 'ordinary' Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Power of Attorney
You can create an 'ordinary' Power of Attorney to appoint an attorney for a specific purpose or for general purposes. An 'ordinary' power of attorney becomes invalid if the donor lacks capacity to make the decisions for themselves.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
You can create an Enduring Power of Attorney to plan in advance for a time when you may be unable to make decisions for yourself and about your affairs. Under an EPA you can appoint an attorney to make personal care and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you lack the capacity to make these decisions.
An EPA is an important legal document. To start thinking about planning ahead read our FAQ’s on Enduring Power of Attorney
Making a will is a way of ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death, and it makes it easier for the people who are important to you to act according to your wishes. By making a will you are deciding what will happen to the things you own. The house, the farm, the car, your money, pictures, furniture – what are referred to as your “assets” which make up your “estate”. By making a will you decide how your assets will be distributed amongst family and friends after your death.
Coming soon - Sage Advocacy's FAQs on Making a Will
Safeguarding Ireland’s Public Awareness campaign in October 2018 was focused on the theme of ‘Planning Ahead’.
The campaign was informed by the findings of a new Red C survey which shows that more than half of adults in Ireland did not plan ahead to safeguard their future welfare. Read the survey results to find out how many adults have: