What is an ordinary power of attorney?
An ordinary power of attorney is one of two main types of power of attorney used within Irish law. This legal agreement gives an appointed representative the power to make decisions on another’s behalf for as long as they have been authorised to do so.
These can apply when one individual wants an attorney to, for example, make payments or handle a legal process in their absence, and can extend to a wide range of property, business and financial affairs. This category includes:
- Specific powers of attorney, which are restricted to a certain task or job, such as overseeing the sale of a house
- General powers of attorney, which confer a more general power to act on someone’s behalf
Ordinary powers of attorney are no longer valid in the following cases:
- When the person being represented withdraws the power of attorney
- When the attorney completes the specific job they have been assigned, in the case of a specific power of attorney
- When the donor loses the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves
You do not require a solicitor to create an ordinary power of attorney, but it is advisable to seek out legal advice before appointing an attorney in this way.
What is an enduring power of attorney?
An enduring power of attorney is the second of the main types of power of attorney used in Ireland, providing the representative with the ability to make decisions on behalf of someone who is no longer mentally capable of doing so on their own.
Enduring powers of attorney can be used to handle financial affairs – including managing investments and organising property sales – or to make decisions about a person’s healthcare and wellbeing, including decisions about medical treatments and accommodation.
The conditions for setting up an enduring power of attorney are much more stringent than for an ordinary power of attorney, requiring statements from doctors and solicitors that the person creating the document is fully able to make decisions and understand the purpose of their actions at the time of writing it.