Age Related / Elderly Care Issues
As we get older we often need to make decisions about our future needs particularly those relating to our care. This may involve seeking assistance from family and others. We may need to put in place long term formal arrangements to deal with care and financial issues.
We at Fagan Bergin Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with issues relating to the elderly.
We have the knowledge and expertise to help guide you/your elderly relative through important
decisions such as:-
- Making a will
- Powers of Attorney – General and Enduring Power of Attorney
- Wardship / Wards of Court
- Nursing Home Support (Fair Deal) Scheme
A will is a document which sets out in writing a person’s wishes as to how his / her assets and possessions should be divided on his/her death. In order to be valid a will must be properly witnessed and fulfil a number of other important statutory requirements.
The making of one’s will is an important milestone in life. Decisions need to be made as to how one’s assets are to be distributed having regard to the needs of those chosen to benefit.
If you die and you have made a valid Will then you are said to have died testate. If you die and you have not made a valid Will then you are said to have died intestate. If you die intestate then the law governs who will inherit your estate.
A properly made and thoughtful Will can ensure that proper provision and arrangements are made for your family and in particular any dependents you may have. Making a will also ensures that your property is distributed as you wish after you pass away, subject to the rights of spouses / civil partners and any children you may have.
The making and planning for the distribution of your estate may also have implications for your business and succession planning.( see Estate Planning section.)
We at Fagan Bergin will help you in making these important decisions on the distribution of your assets and we will help you identify your key priorities and objectives in this important task.
Powers of Attorney – General and Enduring
As we get older we sometimes need to depend on others a little more and this can also be the case when it comes to taking steps to look after our affairs during our lifetime.
It can be both necessary and re-assuring to have put in place arrangements which will fall into place in the event that one cannot look after one’s affairs both personal and financial. These arrangements can be easily put in place by the use of a Power Of Attorney.
There are two forms of Power of Attorney under current Irish Law:-
A General Power of Attorney – a document entered into by a person (called the Donor) in order to give a named person or persons (called the Attorney) the power to deal with the Donor’s affairs. A General Power of Attorney will only continue for so long as the Donor has mental capacity.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which a person ( called the Donor) enters into enabling another party (called the Attorney) to look after his/her affairs.
An enduring power of attorney is granted under the provisions of the Power of Attorney Act, 1996. This Power of Attorney does not have immediate effect and only comes into operation in circumstances where the Donor no longer has mental capacity to deal with his/her affairs.
It is a prudent and practical step to put in place an Enduring Power of Attorney which will permit you to decide who may deal with your affairs, if that becomes necessary, and to take decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so.
It is a significant and important step in life to grant an Enduring Power of Attorney. The Enduring Powers of Attorneys Act 1996 set out the steps and procedures to be followed for the creation of an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Wardship – Wards of Court
If your parent, relative or friend is mentally incapacitated due to age, an accident or a progressive illness and if he/she has not previously signed an Enduring Power of Attorney then it is not legally possible for him/her to enter into any legal or contractual arrangements including long term care arrangements. In such circumstances it may be necessary to consider making an application to have him/her made a Ward of Court so that the welfare and assets of the parent, relative or friend may be protected and taken care of at this difficult time. Having a person made a ward of court is a legal procedure whereby an application is made to the High Court to have a third party appointed to look after the financial assets and personal care issues (for example nursing home care or other care arrangements ) relating to that person. The decision to have a parent /relative/friend made a ward of court can be a difficult and emotional time for family.
We can assist you and guide you as to the steps involved in the process of Wardship. We will meet with you and your family to discuss and explain what steps need to be taken and we will help you in identifying who is best suited to take on the responsibility of looking after the affairs of the vulnerable party. The person taking on such responsibility is generally referred to as the Committee.
We will provide you with a detailed step by step guide to the procedures in having someone made a Ward of Court. These steps and procedures are overseen by a branch of the High Court, the Office of Wards of Court. We will liaise with the medical advisers and the Office of Wards of Court and we will advise and guide you through the process of looking after the financial issues, including sale of property (if necessary) and other assets and care issues including applications under the Nursing Home Support (Fair Deal) Scheme.
Nursing Home – Fair Deal Scheme
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, often referred to as the “Fair Deal”, is a scheme of financial support for people who require long-term nursing home care which was introduced in 2009. The scheme is operated by the HSE and covers long term nursing home care in public, voluntary or private nursing homes in the State.
If you or your elderly relative, parent or friend has been advised that long term nursing home care is required then we can assist you with the application process.
The application process contains three steps. Step 1 is an application for a Care Needs Assessment. Step 2 is an application for State Support. Step 3 is an optional application for the Nursing Home Loan (“Ancillary State Support”) which defers payment of portion of the care costs until the person needing care has passed away by placing a charge over their property.
If the person who needs nursing home care is unable to make the application on his/her own behalf then his/her next of kin (e.g. spouse, child or other relative), his/her Committee (if they are a Ward of Court) or his/her Attorney (if an Enduring Power of Attorney has been previously entered into and enrolled due to incapacity) may make the application on his/her behalf. If the Nursing Home Loan is sought as part of the application then, if the person needing care has neither a Committee nor an Attorney, it may be appropriate to make an application to the Circuit Court for the appointment of a Care Representative who can consent to the putting in place of the Nursing Home Loan.
If you would like more information on progressing a claim for compensation or if you would simply like to have an initial preliminary assessment/advice please contact us: email@example.com