What is involved in being an attorney?

As an attorney your role is to make certain decisions on behalf of the person. You can only make decisions that are listed in the enduring power of attorney.

Bringing the enduring power of attorney into effect

If and when the person loses capacity to make certain decisions, you must notify the enduring power of attorney to us to bring it into effect. You must tell certain people, like the person’s spouse/civil partner and adult children and provide them with a copy of the arrangement.

You must get two statements from a doctor and/or another healthcare professional which state that the person lacks capacity to make one or more of the decisions included in the enduring power of attorney.

You must also pay the notification fee, which is €90.

After you have notified the enduring power of attorney to us, we review the notification and check that it meets legal requirements. If we accept the notification we will send you a certified copy of the enduring power of attorney, which you can use to demonstrate your legal authority.

Acting as an attorney before it comes into effect

After you have notified the enduring power of attorney to us and while you are waiting for us to accept it, there are some things you can do. You can take action to ensure the person’s bills are being paid and that they are being cared for. You can also make any urgent decisions that are covered by the enduring power of attorney and cannot be delayed.

You must inform us of any decisions you have made during this period.

Your role as an attorney

When you are making a decision on behalf of the person, you must respect the person’s wishes, as written down in the arrangement. You must also make every effort to find out the person’s present wishes about the decision and try to make the same the decision they would have made if they were able to.

This could involve seeking the views of the person’s friends, family and trusted advisors. You must help them to be involved in the decision making as much as possible.

If you have been given a general authority in the enduring power of attorney, you must make decisions on behalf of the person as they arise. If the general authority relates to personal welfare or property and financial decisions only you can only make decisions that come within that authority.

You cannot make a decision that is not authorised by the enduring power of attorney, even if that decision needs to be made.

If you have been given a specific authority to make specific decisions in the enduring power of attorney, you must act within the scope of the specific authority at all times.

If the person appoints more than one attorney in the arrangement, they must state if you must make decisions separately or together.

The person can also appoint you as a replacement attorney. This means you would only act in the role if another attorney is unable to continue in their role for any reason.

Codes of practice

You must follow the code of practice for the guidance of attorneys. You can access the code at the link Code of Practice. This has important information about your responsibilities as an attorney. It also includes the rules you must follow, the records you keep and the reports you must submit to us.

You must also follow the Code of practice on supported decision-making and assessing capacity. You can access the link at Code of Practice

Look at our explainer video at the link codes of practice for an attorney 

You can also look at our explainer video at the link What is an Enduring Power of Attorney. Here you will find a wide range of explainer videos on our YouTube channel at the link Decision Support Service Information Videos

Find out more about the codes of practice at the link, Resources, Codes of Practice