Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future


For many individuals, the thought of making a Will evokes a sense of unease. It’s often intertwined with acknowledging our death. However, while seemingly daunting, this process is a fundamental act of care and foresight for our families.

Making a Will in Ireland is not just about laying out who gets what. It’s a deeply personal conversation with the future. It ensures that your loved ones are protected and provided for according to your wishes. The importance of making a Will cannot be overstated. It’s a necessity when considering the peace of mind it brings to you and those close to you.

In Ireland, the process of making a Will is surrounded by legal formalities. At its heart, it’s about family. It’s about making choices today that will support your family’s needs and respect your wishes tomorrow. Whether it’s ensuring that your children are looked after or that your spouse is financially secure, a Will is the tool that makes your intentions clear and legally binding.

This article will outline the process of making a Will. It breaks down the process into manageable steps and offers practical tips for those looking to safeguard their family’s future. 

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Understanding the Basics of Wills in Ireland

Making a Will is a crucial step in managing your estate. It also ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. In Ireland, the process and importance of creating a Will are governed by a clear legal framework. That said, the concept remains straightforward.

A Will is a legal document where you, the testator, declare how your assets should be handled. You decide who should be the beneficiary of these assets after you die.

Key Elements of a Will:

  • Testator: The person making the Will.

  • Executor: An individual or institution appointed to carry out the directions of the Will.

  • Beneficiaries: The people or organisations who will receive your assets.

  • Assets: Everything you own that you may want to distribute. This includes property, money, and personal possessions.

Legal Requirements:

For a Will to be valid in Ireland, certain conditions must be met:

  • The testator must be at least 18 years old or married.

  • The Will must be written voluntarily, without any coercion.

  • The testator must be of sound mind. They must fully understanding the nature of the document and its implications.

  • The Will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must sign the document in the testator’s presence.

Why a Will is Necessary:

Without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy under the Succession Act of 1965. This may not align with your personal wishes or the needs of your family. As a result, it can lead to unintended consequences and disputes among your loved ones. A Will provides clarity, ensuring that your assets are distributed exactly as you intend. This offers peace of mind to both you and your family.

Creating a Will is not just about asset distribution. It’s also a form of protection for your loved ones. The document ensures they are cared for in your absence. This includes appointing guardians for minor children, making specific financial provisions, and even detailing your wishes for personal items that hold sentimental value.

In essence, a Will is your voice beyond your lifetime. It’s a testament to your care and consideration for your family’s future.

Understanding these basics is the first step towards making an informed decision about your Will. It lays the foundation for a secure future for your loved ones. By drafting a Will, you make sure all wishes are respected and carried out as you intended.

In the next sections, we’ll dive deeper into the implications of not having a Will. We also address the benefits of making a Will, and how to approach this important task with your family.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

“What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?”

The consequences of not having a Will in Ireland can be far-reaching. The result can often detract from what you might have wished for your family and assets. Dying without a Will, known as dying intestate, triggers a default legal process. This process may not reflect your personal desires or the specific needs of your loved ones.

Distribution Under the Rules of Intestacy:

When someone dies without a Will, their estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy as outlined in the Succession Act of 1965. This might lead to outcomes that diverge significantly from what the deceased might have wanted:

  • If married or in a civil partnership, the entire estate may go to the spouse or civil partner. This potentially overlooks the needs or wishes of other relatives or children from previous relationships.

  • Children might inherit equally. However, this might not align with the deceased’s wishes for specific allocations or considerations for their individual needs.


  • In the absence of a spouse, civil partner, or children, the estate could pass to parents, siblings, or more distant relatives. In this case, the result might not reflect the deceased’s personal relationships or intentions.

Emotional and Financial Strain:

The absence of a Will can place an additional emotional and financial burden on families during an already difficult time. Without clear directives:

  • Family members may face uncertainty and disputes over the distribution of assets. This can lead to potential conflicts and strained relationships.

  • The probate process can become more complicated and time-consuming. It can delay the distribution of assets and possibly incurring additional legal costs.

Guardianship of Minor Children:

Perhaps one of the most significant impacts of not having a Will involves the care and guardianship of minor children. Without a Will specifying guardianship wishes:

  • The court will decide on the guardians for minor children. Their decision may not align with the deceased’s preferences or the children’s best interests.

  • This uncertainty can lead to disputes among family members and potentially distressing situations for the children involved.

The absence of a Will can indirectly complicate the lives of those you care about most. Making a Will is not only about distributing your assets but also about providing for your family’s needs. By preparing in advance, you’re protecting their future.

Creating a Will can eliminate unnecessary legal hurdles and emotional distress. By understanding the potential impacts of not having a Will, it becomes evident why taking the step to create one is a critical act of care for your loved ones.

In the following sections, we’ll guide you through the benefits of making a Will and how to ensure it reflects your wishes for your family’s future.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Benefits of Making a Will for Your Family

Creating a Will is an act of foresight and compassion towards your family. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and offers significant benefits that can impact your family’s well-being.

Here, we dive into the key advantages of having a Will in place. We also highlight how it serves to protect and provide for your loved ones in Ireland.

Clear Direction for Asset Distribution:

  • Personalised Decisions: You have the control to decide exactly how your assets are divided among family members, friends, or charities, reflecting your relationships and values.

  • Protection for Minor Children: A Will allows you to make specific provisions for the care and financial support of your children, including the appointment of guardians.

  • Avoidance of Disputes: With your wishes clearly laid out in a Will, the potential for family disputes over the distribution of your estate is significantly reduced, helping to maintain harmony among your loved ones.

Minimise Legal and Financial Burdens:

  • Simplified Probate Process: A clear and valid Will can streamline the probate process, making it quicker and less costly for your family to access their inheritance.

  • Tax Considerations: Strategic estate planning through your Will can help minimise the tax burden on your estate, maximising the inheritance for your beneficiaries.

Peace of Mind for You and Your Family:

  • Security: Knowing that your family will be taken care of according to your wishes provides peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

  • Clarity and Confidence: Your family will have the comfort of knowing they are fulfilling your final wishes, which can be a source of great comfort during a difficult time.

Adapt to the Changes of Life:

  • Revisable Documents: Wills can be updated to reflect life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or changes in financial circumstances, ensuring your estate plan remains aligned with your current situation and wishes.

Making a Will is a powerful way to communicate your love and care for your family. It’s about making thoughtful choices that reflect your desires and priorities. This ensures that your legacy is preserved and passed on in the manner you envision.

More than a legal document, a Will is a reflection of your commitment to your family’s future and well-being. By recognising these benefits, it becomes clear why making a Will should be a priority for anyone concerned with the welfare of their loved ones.

In the next sections, we’ll explore the key considerations when making your Will and how to start this important conversation with your family.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Key Considerations When Making Your Will

Crafting a Will is a thoughtful process that requires consideration of several key factors to ensure it accurately reflects your wishes and provides for your family’s needs.

Here are some crucial aspects to keep in mind when making your Will in Ireland. These elements are focused on making the process as comprehensive and beneficial for your loved ones as possible.

Assessing Your Assets and Liabilities:

  • Inventory of Assets: Begin by making a detailed list of your assets, including property, bank accounts, investments, and personal possessions of value. Understanding what you own is the first step in deciding how to distribute it.

  • Consideration of Liabilities: Be aware of any debts or obligations that may impact your estate. These liabilities can affect the net value of your estate and should be considered in your planning.

Choosing Executors and Guardians:

  • Selecting an Executor: Choose someone you trust to carry out the instructions in your Will. This should be a person who is responsible, organised, and willing to take on this important role.

  • Appointing Guardians for Minor Children: If you have children under the age of 18, deciding on a guardian is one of the most critical decisions. Consider who would best maintain your parenting style and values, and ensure you discuss this with the potential guardians before making your decision.

Making Specific Financial Provisions:

  • Direct Bequests: You may wish to leave specific items or amounts of money to certain individuals or organisations. Be clear and specific to avoid any confusion or disputes.

  • Trusts for Children or Dependents: For younger children or dependents with special needs, setting up a trust can ensure they are provided for in a way that meets their ongoing needs and circumstances.

Personal Sentiments and Legacies:

  • Sentimental Items: Beyond financial assets, consider any personal possessions with sentimental value. Leaving these items to specific loved ones can have profound emotional significance.

  • Charitable Donations: If there are causes or organisations you are passionate about, you can include provisions to support them in your Will, creating a lasting legacy.

Review and Update Regularly:

  • Life Changes: Major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary or executor necessitate a review and possible update of your Will to ensure it remains reflective of your current wishes.

  • Legal Updates: Stay informed about any changes in legislation that might affect your Will or estate planning in general. It may be beneficial to consult with a legal professional periodically to ensure your Will complies with current laws.

Creating a Will is not a one-time task but an ongoing commitment to safeguarding your family’s future. It requires careful thought, clear communication, and regular updates to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes and life circumstances accurately.

By considering these key aspects, you can create a comprehensive Will that provides peace of mind for you and security for your loved ones.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

How to Start the Conversation with Your Family

Discussing the creation of a Will with your family is a crucial step that can be sensitive and emotional. However, it’s also an opportunity to ensure transparency, understand expectations, and convey your wishes clearly.

This conversation can bring peace of mind to both you and your loved ones, knowing that plans are in place for the future. Here are some tips for approaching this important discussion:

Choose the Right Time and Setting:

  • Timing: Select a time when your family is not preoccupied or stressed, ensuring everyone is more receptive and open to discussion.

  • Setting: Opt for a comfortable and private space where you can speak without interruptions, allowing for an open and honest conversation.

Be Clear About Your Intentions:

  • Purpose: Start by expressing your desire to ensure that everyone is taken care of and that your wishes are known and respected.

  • Reassurance: Emphasise that this is about planning for the future and providing security for your loved ones, not about dwelling on the negative.

Involve Your Family in the Process:

  • Expectations: Ask your family members about their expectations or concerns regarding the Will and estate planning. This can help address any potential issues early on.

  • Decisions: While the final decisions rest with you, involving your loved ones in the conversation can help them understand your choices and reduce potential conflicts later.

Use Simple, Understandable Language:

  • Avoid Jargon: Keep the conversation straightforward, avoiding legal terminology that might confuse or overwhelm your family members.

  • Clarifications: Be ready to explain the reasons behind specific decisions, especially those involving guardianship, asset distribution, or special provisions.

Address Any Questions or Concerns:

  • Openness: Encourage your family to ask questions and express their thoughts and concerns. This openness can lead to a more comprehensive understanding for everyone involved.

  • Professional Advice: If there are complex issues or questions you can’t answer, suggest consulting with a legal professional together for clarity.


  • Documentation: Consider summarising the key points discussed and any decisions made during the conversation in writing, and share this with your family.


  • Updates: Let your family know that you’ll keep them informed of any changes or updates to your Will, maintaining an ongoing dialogue.

Starting the conversation about making a Will can strengthen your family bond, ensuring that everyone feels considered and respected.

It’s a step toward mutual understanding and peace of mind, knowing that your family’s future is thoughtfully planned for.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Navigating the Probate Process

Understanding the probate process is crucial for anyone making a Will in Ireland. It directly affects how and when your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries.

Probate is the legal procedure that ensures your Will is valid and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

This section provides an overview of the probate process, its importance, and how having a Will simplifies this process for your loved ones.

What is Probate?

  • Definition: Probate is the court-supervised process of authenticating a deceased person’s Will, assessing the estate, paying off debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the designated beneficiaries.

  • Purpose: It serves to legally transfer ownership of the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries and ensures that any debts or taxes owed by the estate are paid.

Probate with a Will:

  • Executor’s Role: If you have a Will, you will be named an executor. This person is responsible for initiating the probate process, gathering and valuing your assets, paying off debts, and distributing the assets as you have directed.

  • Simplification: Having a Will can significantly streamline the probate process. With clear instructions and appointed executors, the court can more easily validate your Will and allow the executor to carry out your wishes.

Probate without a Will (Intestacy):

  • Administrator Appointment: If you die without a Will, the court appoints an administrator, usually a close family member, to manage your estate.

    This process can be more complex and time-consuming, as the administrator must distribute the assets according to the default intestacy rules, which may not reflect your personal wishes.


  • Complications: The lack of a Will may lead to delays, increased costs, and potentially disputes among family members over the distribution of your estate.

How to Simplify the Probate Process for Your Family:

  • Detailed Will: Ensure your Will is clear, detailed, and legally valid to avoid any uncertainties or legal challenges that could complicate the probate process.

  • Organised Documents: Keep your estate documents, including your Will, in a safe but accessible place, and let your executor know where to find them.

  • Consider a Probate Solicitor: For more complex estates, consider advising your executor to hire a solicitor specialised in probate law to guide them through the process efficiently.

Benefits of Planning Ahead:

  • Minimise Stress: By having a Will and understanding the probate process, you can minimise the stress and burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.

  • Quicker Distribution: A clear Will can lead to a quicker probate process, allowing your beneficiaries to access their inheritance sooner and with fewer legal hurdles.

Navigating the probate process can seem daunting. With proper planning and a well-crafted Will, you can make it as smooth as possible for your loved ones.

This foresight ensures that your wishes are respected. It also provides peace of mind to both you and your family, knowing that everything is for the future.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Seeking Professional Guidance

Creating a Will is one of the most significant steps you can take to ensure your estate is managed and distributed correctly after you pass away.

While it’s possible to draft a Will on your own, seeking professional advice from an experienced solicitor can offer numerous benefits. This are helpful when navigating the complexities of estate planning in Ireland.

This section outlines why professional guidance is crucial and how it can streamline the process of making your Will.

Complexity of Estate Planning:

  • Legal Expertise: Estate law can be complex and varies significantly by jurisdiction. A solicitor specialising in estate planning and Will drafting in Ireland can provide invaluable advice tailored to your specific situation, ensuring your Will complies with local laws and regulations.

  • Customised Solutions: Every individual’s circumstances are unique, involving different family dynamics, assets, and wishes. Professionals can offer personalised strategies that best meet your estate planning goals, addressing issues like guardianship for minors, setting up trusts, and tax implications.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls:

  • Validity Concerns: A professionally drafted Will minimises the risk of it being contested or deemed invalid due to errors or omissions. Solicitors ensure all legal requirements are met, including the proper signing and witnessing of the document.

  • Clarification of Wishes: Legal professionals can help articulate your wishes clearly, reducing the likelihood of disputes among beneficiaries by providing clarity and precision in the language used in your Will.

Updating Your Will:

  • Life Changes: Changes in your personal circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or acquiring significant assets, may necessitate updates to your Will. A solicitor can help you make these adjustments to reflect your current wishes accurately.

  • Legislative Changes: Laws related to estate planning and taxation can evolve. A legal professional stays updated on these changes and can advise you on necessary modifications to your Will to ensure it remains effective and compliant.

The Role of a Solicitor:

  • Comprehensive Review: Beyond drafting your Will, a solicitor can review your overall estate plan, including assets, liabilities, and insurance policies, to ensure a holistic approach to your estate planning.

  • Probate Process Guidance: They can also offer guidance on the probate process, helping your executor understand their duties and the steps involved in administering your estate.

Peace of Mind:

Ultimately, the most significant benefit of seeking professional help is the peace of mind it brings. Knowing that your Will has been prepared with expert care ensures that your wishes will be honoured, and your loved ones will be cared for as you intended.

Seeking out professional advice for drafting your Will is not just about the document itself. The right guidance can ensure your final wishes are accurately recorded and legally binding.

This professional input safeguards your estate and provides clarity and comfort to your family during what will undoubtedly be a challenging time. Listen to what Kevin O’Higgins had to say about drafting a Will alongside an experienced solicitor.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

FAQs About Making a Will in Ireland

When considering making a Will in Ireland, many individuals have questions about the process, its implications, and how to ensure their wishes are accurately reflected.

This section addresses some of the most common questions, providing clear and concise answers to help demystify the process of creating a Will.

1. Do I really need a solicitor to make a Will?

While it’s possible to draft a Will on your own, consulting with a solicitor ensures that your Will complies with all legal requirements and accurately reflects your wishes.

Solicitors can also provide advice on complex issues. Such areas include tax planning, guardianship, and the establishment of trusts. These help reduce the likelihood of disputes among your beneficiaries.

2. What happens if I die without a Will in Ireland?

If you die without a Will (intestate), your estate will be distributed according to the rules set out in the Succession Act of 1965.

This may not align with your personal wishes and could lead to unintended consequences for your loved ones, including potential disputes and additional legal complications.

3. Can I change my Will after it’s been made?

Yes, you can (and should) update your Will to reflect changes in your circumstances. Common updates include marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or significant changes in your financial situation.

These updates are typically done through a codicil (an amendment to your Will) or by drafting a new Will entirely.

4. How do I choose an executor for my Will?

Choose someone you trust to be responsible and impartial, such as a close family member, friend, or a professional like a solicitor.

The role of an executor involves managing your estate according to your Will. Therefore, it’s important to discuss this responsibility with them before making your decision.

5. Are digital assets included in Wills?

Yes, digital assets, such as online accounts, social media, and digital currencies, can and should be included in your Will. It’s important to provide clear instructions on how these assets should be handled, including access details, to ensure they are managed according to your wishes.

6. How can I ensure my Will is followed?

Having a legally valid Will that is clear and unambiguous is the best way to ensure your wishes are followed. Additionally, discussing your Will and its contents with your executor and beneficiaries can help clarify your intentions and reduce the likelihood of disputes.

7. What is the difference between a Will and a living will?

A Will dictates the distribution of your assets after your death, while a living will (also known as an advanced healthcare directive) outlines your wishes regarding medical treatment if you become unable to communicate those decisions yourself.

Both are important components of a comprehensive estate plan.

For more frequently asked questions, read our new FAQ Guide on Making a Will in Ireland. Planning your estate is a significant task, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a smooth and reassuring process.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Conclusion: Planning for Your Family's Future

Making a Will is a big step in looking after your family’s future. It’s more than just filling out forms—it’s about making sure your wishes are followed and your loved ones are taken care of when you’re not around.

A Will helps you say exactly who should get what, from your house and savings to special items that mean a lot to you and your family. This way, you can avoid any confusion or arguments and make things easier for everyone.

We know talking about Wills and dealing with legal stuff can seem complicated. That’s why we’re here to help.

At Kevin O’Higgins Solicitors, we’re all about making the process straightforward and stress-free. We’ll listen to what you want, answer your questions, and make sure your Will does exactly what you need it to do. Whether you’re writing a Will for the first time or updating an old one, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Creating a Will is important for everyone, no matter what you own. It gives you peace of mind, knowing your family will be okay and that your wishes will be respected. If you’re thinking about making a Will or just want to talk about your options, get in touch with us.

Contact Kevin today to start planning for your family’s future. It’s one of the most caring things you can do for them.

Making a Will in Ireland: Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors
The ULTIMATE GUIDE To Enduring Power Of Attorney In Ireland (2023)

The ULTIMATE GUIDE To Enduring Power Of Attorney In Ireland (2023)


Life is an unpredictable journey with twists and turns that can challenge our emotional, financial, and mental well-being. While you may not have a crystal ball to see into the future, you can certainly prepare for unforeseen circumstances. One crucial aspect of this preparation, especially for adults at any stage of life, is setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney.

The following guide aims to demystify the subject of Enduring Power of Attorney in Ireland, explaining its importance, legal provisions, and how to go about it (without any stress). Ready to safeguard your future?

What Is Enduring Power Of Attorney?

The purpose of an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), is to appoint a person (an Attorney), to manage your personal and/or financial affairs, in the event you become mentally incapacitated.


An EPA isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s a lifeline. It is a legal arrangement that ensures someone you trust implicitly can make crucial decisions on your behalf should you no longer have the mental capacity to do so yourself.


In simple terms, it’s a way to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.

Enduring Power Of Attorney vs. General Power of Attorney

Although this article focuses on the Enduring Power Of Attorney, understanding the different types of Powers of Attorney can help you decide which one suits your specific needs.


Powers of Attorney can either be specific, restricting the attorney to a narrow scope of tasks, or general, allowing them to do nearly everything you could do.

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney empowers someone to manage your property and/or affairs for a limited period. In other words, it’s a short-term delegation of authority.


Common use cases include going on an extended holiday or living abroad temporarily. Known also as an Ordinary Power of Attorney, this form is fully operational as soon as you sign it and doesn’t require registration.

Enduring Power of Attorney

If you need someone to act on your behalf because you’ve become mentally incapacitated—due to illness, an accident, or conditions like dementia—an Enduring Power of Attorney is the appropriate choice.


Unlike a General Power of Attorney, an EPA must be registered and comes into effect when you are no longer capable of managing your own affairs.


By understanding these distinctions, you can make a more informed choice tailored to your unique circumstances.

Without an EPA, the process becomes more complicated and stressful... | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

When Is Enduring Power Of Attorney Necessary?

Think of an Enduring Power of Attorney as a safety net for adults of all ages. It’s not merely an “end-of-life” plan but a practical tool for life’s unexpected challenges.


There are many ways in which someone can lose their decision-making capacity and an EPA might be necessary. In Ireland, a high number of instances occur due to dementia, Alzheimer and strokes. According to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, “it is estimated that there are 55,000 people living with dementia” in Ireland, with figures projected to rise above 150,000 by 2045.


Whether you’re entering retirement, running a business, or have a chronic illness, an EPA assures that your affairs are in competent hands.

What Safeguards Prevent Abuse Of Power?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is an incredibly potent legal document, granting extensive decision-making authority to your chosen attorney(s).


Therefore, it’s paramount to only appoint individuals you deeply trust. But trust isn’t the only line of defence; the system includes several built-in safeguards to minimize the risk of abuse.


Here are the key protective measures:


  • Registration Requirement: Attorneys cannot exercise any authority unless the EPA is registered. During the registration process, specific parties have the legal right to object, adding a layer of scrutiny.

  • Notification of Intent to Register: Before registration can proceed, those designated to act as your attorney must notify at least two individuals specified in the EPA document. This gives these individuals the opportunity to raise objections if they have concerns.

  • Medical Certification: An EPA is only actionable with at least one doctor’s certificate confirming that you have become incapable of managing your own affairs. Moreover, when the EPA was initially drafted, a doctor would have also issued a certificate asserting that you, the donor, fully understood the implications of what you were doing, and were neither under undue influence nor defrauded.

  • Donor Restrictions: As a donor, you have the option to specify conditions, restrictions, or limitations on what your attorney(s) can and cannot do on your behalf.


By understanding and leveraging these safeguards, you can further secure your interests and well-being.

Can I Revoke An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

After your Enduring Power of Attorney has been registered, you have the option to either revoke or modify it by notifying the Decision Support Services (DSS). However, this is only possible if the DSS has not already accepted a notification indicating your loss of mental capacity.


It’s worth noting that EPAs created prior to April 26, 2023, are not required to be registered. Should you wish to cancel your EPA, you can either physically destroy the document or supersede it with a new one.


To formally revoke or amend your EPA, your application must include the following:


  • A declaration confirming your understanding of the consequences of your actions.

  • A statement from a solicitor or barrister, corroborating that you fully grasp the implications of your request and are not acting under external pressure.

  • If you’re making changes, a confirmation statement from the attorney acknowledging the amendments.


For EPAs generated before April 26, 2023, registration with the DSS is not obligatory, and revocation can only occur through the High Court.

Do I Need An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Yes, an Enduring Power of Attorney isn’t just a document for potential worst-case scenarios; it’s a strategic component of a well-rounded life plan.


It gives you and your loved ones the peace of mind that you have a plan in place.

What If I Don't Have An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Without an EPA, the process of assigning someone to make decisions for you becomes more complicated and stressful.


If you do not have an EPA in place and lose mental capacity, your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a wardship order.


Applications for wardship are a court-based process. They can be both lengthy and expensive. It is much easier for everyone concerned if you have an EPA in place before any unfortunate situation arises.

How Do You Register An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Registration isn’t just filling out a form and calling it a day; it’s a multi-step, legally intricate process that requires meticulous attention to detail.


The Decision Support Services (DSS) provides an online portal where individuals can initiate the process of setting up an EPA. While the online process offers some convenience, there are alternative methods available for those who find it challenging.


For example, you can authorise a legal representative to interact with the DSS on your behalf. This enables you to proceed through a paper-based manual process. Once you complete the EPA in paper form, it can be submitted to the DSS for registration.


Please note that you’ll need to verify your identity with the DSS as part of this process.

When Do You Register An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Registration is a critical step that is triggered when you are losing or have lost mental capacity. It’s not just a procedural formality; it’s a legally mandated step to ensure that your attorney is properly empowered to act on your behalf.

The key factor is the level of trust and understanding between you and the individual or entity | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Who Should Be Your Enduring Power Of Attorney?

The selection of your Enduring Power of Attorney is not a decision to take lightly. This person will hold significant influence over your life, especially during vulnerable moments.


Consider their reliability, understanding of your wishes, and their ability to make tough decisions under pressure.

Who Cannot Be Your Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Just as there are qualities to seek in an EPA, there are also legal restrictions on who can serve in this role. For example:


  • Minors: Individuals under the age of 18 are ineligible.

  • Bankruptcy Filers: Persons who are bankrupt cannot serve as your attorney.

  • Fraud Convicts: If someone has been convicted of fraud, they are disqualified.

  • Company Act Disqualifications: Individuals disqualified under the Companies Act are not eligible.

  • Nursing Home Owners: If you reside in a nursing home, the owner—be it an individual or a trust corporation—cannot be your Enduring Power of Attorney.


By knowing who can and cannot be your attorney, you can make a more informed, legally sound decision.

Does Your Enduring Power Of Attorney Have To Be Family?

There’s a common misconception that your EPA must be a close family member. While many people do opt for relatives—owing to established trust and familiarity—it’s not a legal requirement.


Friends, business associates, or professional fiduciary services can also serve as your EPA. The key factor is the level of trust and understanding between you and the individual or entity.

Nominating A 3rd Party In Your Enduring Power Of Attorney

In complex situations, or to add an additional layer of security, a third-party nomination can serve as a ‘check’ on your primary EPA. This entity can be given specific oversight duties, adding another level of due diligence.

What Are Enduring Power Of Attorney Notice Parties?

In addition to informing your chosen Attorneys about the responsibilities you’re entrusting to them, you’re also required to notify two other individuals. They are known as your ‘Notice Parties.’


The criteria for selecting your Notice Parties are as follows:


  • If you are married or in a civil partnership and are cohabiting with your spouse or civil partner who is not serving as your Attorney, they must be one of the Notice Parties.

  • Your child can also serve as a Notice Party.

  • If you neither have a spouse, a civil partner, nor a child, you are obligated to select two relatives to act as your Notice Parties.


It’s important to note that these Notice Parties will be informed once more if there comes a time when the EPA needs to be activated.

The 2015 Act introduces a supported decision-making framework in Ireland | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

What Irish Laws Govern Enduring Power Of Attorney?

Laws are not static; they evolve, and understanding the current legislative landscape is crucial. Several key pieces of legislation govern EPAs in Ireland.

Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

Since 26 April 2023, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has been fully operational concerning Enduring Powers of Attorney. The 2015 Act overhauls the previous framework, introducing a new, supported decision-making framework in Ireland.


In short, it allows people to make legal agreements on how they can be supported to make decisions about their personal welfare, property and financial affairs. Applications for adults to become a Ward of Court can no longer be made.

Decision Support Services (DSS)

A noteworthy change is the establishment of a new Government Agency—the Decision Support Services (DSS). This agency has assumed the responsibilities previously held by the Wards of Court in the realm of EPAs.


The DSS provides an online portal where individuals can initiate the process of setting up an EPA. While the online process offers convenience, it may not be suitable for everyone due to its requirement for a certain level of IT competency.


If you find the online process challenging, there are alternative methods available. For instance, you can authorize a legal representative to interact with the DSS on your behalf. This enables you to proceed through a paper-based manual process.


Once you complete the EPA in paper form, it can be submitted to the DSS for registration. Please note that you’ll need to verify your identity with the DSS as part of this process.

Powers of Attorney Act 1996

The 1996 Powers of Attorney Act serves as the cornerstone legislation governing Powers of Attorney in Ireland.


This Act experienced a significant update with the enactment of the 2011 Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. This amending Act introduced a new provision stating that an Enduring Power of Attorney will be nullified if the donor decides to revoke it before losing mental capacity.


It’s also important to note that the 1996 Powers of Attorney Act lays down the essential criteria that must be fulfilled for an Enduring Power of Attorney to be legally valid. This sets the foundational guidelines you’ll need to meet when establishing your EPA.

The Role Of The High Court

It’s essential to understand that the High Court plays a supervisory role when it comes to Enduring Powers of Attorney. Once an EPA is registered, its cancellation can only be approved by the High Court. This body also has the authority to provide directives concerning the management and disposal of the Donor’s assets.

What Does "Losing Mental Capacity" Mean?

Mental capacity is a complex and nuanced subject. Having a mental illness or going through a period of being unwell does not necessarily mean you’ve lost your mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.


In the context of an EPA, losing mental capacity is formally determined by a healthcare provider, typically a general practitioner or doctor.


In Ireland, the criteria to establish loss of mental capacity include:


  • The ability to understand the information relevant to the decision in question

  • The capability to retain that information long enough to arrive at a decision

  • The aptitude to weigh that information during the decision-making process

  • The competence to communicate the decision clearly


If you are concerned about your ability or that of a loved one to make reasoned decisions, it is strongly recommended that you seek medical consultation. If the doctor diagnoses a loss of mental capacity, it may be time to consider establishing or activating an Enduring Power of Attorney.

When Should "Incapacity" Be Notified?

The moment incapacity is suspected or confirmed, it should be reported to activate the EPA. However, understand that ‘activation’ is not a simple switch; it is a process that involves legal verification and potential court involvement.

The Scope Of An Enduring Power Of Attorney's Power

Understanding the parameters of the EPA can be likened to knowing the rules of a game—you play better when you know the boundaries. Your Enduring Power of Attorney’s role is not a blanket authority but is governed by the specific powers you grant in the legal document.

What Is An Enduring Power Of Attorney Obligated To Do?

The scope of your Enduring Power of Attorney’s obligations depends on the level of decision-making authority you grant them. An EPA can extend to both your financial and personal life, so it’s critical to choose wisely.

Financial Decisions

Financial responsibilities generally encompass, but are not limited to:


  • Management of your bank accounts

  • Oversight of your savings accounts

  • Engagement in investment activities, including buying and selling

  • Payment of your ongoing bills

  • Real estate transactions, such as buying or selling property

Personal Decisions

On the personal front, responsibilities can include but are not restricted to:


  • Deciding where you should live

  • Determining whom you should live with

  • Managing social interactions, including who you should or should not see

  • Recommending or overseeing training or rehabilitation programs

  • Making decisions about your diet and dress

  • Granting or denying permission to inspect your personal papers

  • Handling matters related to housing, social welfare, and other benefits


It’s crucial to note that these duties need to align with your wishes and best interests, a key aspect to discuss with your attorney(s) when setting up your EPA.

Common Mistakes With Enduring Power Of Attorney

Even with the best of intentions, mistakes can happen. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:


  • Ambiguous Language: Lack of clarity can lead to disputes. Be as specific as possible.

  • Failure to Update: Life changes, and so should your EPA. Regular reviews are essential.

  • Not Discussing Duties: The appointed attorney should be aware of and comfortable with their roles and responsibilities.
Having an EPA can significantly ease the emotional and logistical burdens on your family | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Who Monitors Enduring Power Of Attorneys?

The Decision Support Services (DSS) monitors the Enduring Power of Attorney.

How Do They Monitor An Enduring Power Of Attorneys?

If your attorney informs the DSS that you have lost your decision-making capacity, they must also submit a list of your assets. Each year, your attorney must submit a written report to the DSS setting out the costs, expenses and/or money paid. It’s crucial to maintain accounts and records of decisions.


If the DSS receive a complaint or wishes to check the activity of your attorney, they can send a visitor to speak with your attorney.


Here’s a quick breakdown of the various avenues that provide a safety net:


  • Court Oversight: Courts may require periodic reporting and can review any actions undertaken by the attorney.

  • Financial Audits: Depending on the scope of the EPA, external audits can be carried out to ensure financial propriety.

  • Third-Party Reports: Notice parties, social workers, or healthcare providers can serve as additional sets of eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

As we’ve dived deep into the world of Enduring Power of Attorneys in Ireland, you likely have some questions. Here are some commonly asked queries and their answers:

What Is The Cost Of An Enduring Power Of Attorney?

In Ireland, the cost of an Enduring Power of Attorney can range from €500 to €1,000 in solicitor fees, with court registration costs added to the total. While costs can vary, it’s an investment in your peace of mind.

Can An Enduring Power Of Attorney Change A Will?

An Enduring Power of Attorney has no authority to change your will. Their jurisdiction ends with your life’s affairs and does not extend into posthumous matters.

Is An Enduring Power Of Attorney Valid After Death?

The Enduring Power of Attorney loses its validity the moment the donor passes away. From that point, the executor named in your will takes over.


Preparing for life’s uncertainties, especially as you approach your later years, is a topic many shy away from. However, the importance of this planning cannot be overstated. Having an Enduring Power of Attorney can significantly ease the emotional and logistical burdens on your family and loved ones should the unforeseeable occur.

If you find yourself with lingering questions or need expert assistance in setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney, we’re here to help. With years of specialised experience in elderly care law, Kevin O’Higgins Solicitors is equipped to guide you through this crucial life-planning phase. Contact us today for peace of mind for tomorrow.

The Ultimate Guide To Enduring Power Of Attorney In Ireland (2023) | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors