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Planning Ahead

You have the right to plan ahead and appoint another person or persons to make decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 makes provision for two separate ‘future planning’ documents

  • Advance Healthcare Directive for healthcare decisions
  • Enduring Power of Attorney for property and social care decisions 

Advance Healthcare Directive

An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) is a written document which allows you to plan ahead by indicating now

  • what healthcare treatments you would want or not want at a time when you are unable to make decisions for yourself
  • and naming a person or persons who is authorised to make those decisions for you at that time.

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 at any time over the age of 18 years, not just where a person is unwell or has a diagnosis of dementia.

Read more about AHDs in the Irish Hospice Foundation Guidance Documents on ‘Advance care planning and advance healthcare directives with a person with dementia’   

Introduction to Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney means you (the Donor) can give another person (the Attorney) the right to act on your behalf.  

In Irish law there are two different Powers of Attorney

  • Ordinary Power of Attorney
  • Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

You can create an EPA to plan in advance for how you should be cared for when you might not be mentally capable of making decisions for yourself and about your affairs.

An EPA is an important legal document. To start thinking about planning ahead read our FAQ’s on Enduring Power of Attorney

The Law Society of Ireland Guidelines on Enduring Powers of Attorney were prepared for solicitors practicing in the area, you can read this resource here.

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