Legal Profession FAQ

We have provided answers to frequently asked questions about enduring powers of attorney specific to those working in the legal profession. We will keep these answers up to date and add more questions as they arise.

The DSS has adopted a ‘digital first’ approach in line with government policy, based on advice and having regard to the experience of Public Guardians in other jurisdictions.

International experience has shown that paper-based registration processes tend to be inefficient, error prone, vulnerable to data breach and fundamentally unsustainable.

The DSS has spoken publicly of its establishment on a digital platform for several years.

Recent research by Safeguarding Ireland has shown that only 6% of adults have an EPA. It will be important to promote uptake among greater numbers and younger adults and our systems and the DSS business model must be equipped to manage increased volumes efficiently.

Call for more people to make an Enduring Power of Attorney - Safeguarding Ireland


If a donor is not able to complete the relevant steps on the online portal, even with support, which may of course include professional support throughout, they may be reassured that the DSS will facilitate an alternative 5-step process. 

This commences with an initial engagement to verify the identity of the donor and their attorney(s) to substitute the ID authentication supplied by the online system.

The nature of an alternative non-digital process necessarily involves longer timeframes and additional steps to ensure we meet our continued commitment to data protection and reduce the risk of error. The data provided throughout the paper process has to be input by the DSS into the portal at every stage to replicate what can be done in real time by engaging directly with the system.

Link to forms

The quickest and most efficient way of completing an Enduring Power of Attorney application is through a donor account in the MyDSS portal. This allows the donor, to draft and edit an EPA application. They can obtain the supporting documents as generated by the system in real time, and subsequently submit the application through the portal.

We have come across a view that an applicant to the DSS would have to have use of their own device. A secure online cloud-based arrangement is capable of being created on any device.

It is the prerogative of any donor to instruct a solicitor in respect of the creation and registration of an enduring power of attorney (EPA) if the donor wishes to do so. In our guidance, we state that a donor should consider doing so particularly when complex matters are involved.

As part of the content of an instrument to create an EPA, section 60(1)(b) requires a statement from a legal practitioner. Legal practitioner is defined in section 2 of the 2015 Act to mean a practising barrister or practising solicitor.

The Decision Support Service (DSS) provides a statement unique to the donor during the EPA application process for this purpose.

The requirements in relation to signing and witnessing EPAs with the donor and attorney in the presence of each other and in the presence of 2 witnesses are contained in section 60(4) of the 2015 Act.

Witnesses must be:

  • 18 years of age or older,
  • at least one of whom is not an immediate family member of the donor or attorney; and
  • neither of whom is an employee or agent of the attorney.

These are statutory requirements and have not been introduced by the DSS.

Section 68(3) of the 2015 Act contains the requirements to give notice when making an EPA application, including the list of specified persons to whom notice must be given. The donor must give notice to at least three persons. Where there are fewer than three persons to whom the donor is required to give notice from the list of specified persons, the donor is required to specify at least two other persons.

Section 69(1B) states that if the notice requirements have not been complied with, the Director may, if he or she is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to satisfy the notice requirements, treat the criteria as having been met.

The DSS is not a notice party under the 1996 Act and does not receive Notices of Intention to Register EPAs under the 1996 Act. Please do not send notices under the 1996 Act to the DSS. The procedures in respect of an EPA that has been created under the 1996 Act are unchanged.  

Where a donor has an EPA under the 1996 Act and wishes to make an application for an EPA under the 2015 Act, they can seek to obtain a fee waiver for the registration of an EPA under the 2015 Act.. The donor is required to provide a letter from a solicitor confirming that the 1996 EPA has not been registered and has been revoked before the making of the application for registration of an EPA under the 2015 Act.

S.I .No  202/2023 Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Fees) Regulations 2023

  • Under section 71 - the notice parties, or any other person with sufficient interest or expertise may object to registration of an EPA on a number of grounds, including on the basis of fraud, coercion or undue influence, on the basis that a false statement has been submitted, and on the basis that the attorney is not a suitable person
  • Under section 71B, objections may also be raised at the time of subsequent notification to the DSS
  • The DSS is required to review the applications for registration under section 69 and must carry out reasonable enquiries to establish that all criteria have been met and that the attorney is suitable
  • The DSS also carries out a review process under section 71B prior to acceptance of notification before the EPA comes into effect
  • After notification, the attorney submits reports under section 75 and is supervised by the DSS
  • Any person may make a complaint to the DSS under section 76, to include complaints of an attorney acting outside of scope of the EPA or in breach of the 2015 Act, or that the attorney is not suitable, or that fraud, coercion or undue pressure has been exerted on the donor
  • The 2015 Act creates a number of indictable offences at section 80 and section 145 relating to fraud, coercion and undue influence, the making of false statements, ill-treatment and wilful neglect

It is hoped that all of the above measures, which exceed the protections provided under the Powers of Attorney Act 1996 (‘the 1996 Act’), will mitigate concerns with regard to adverse outside influences.


The DSS has no role to investigate solicitors. The Director may exercise powers under section 96 of the 2015 Act in order to investigate a complaint on specified grounds under section 76.

Depending on what is alleged under section 76, this may involve the taking up of relevant information from third parties. It is correct of course that a solicitor should maintain proper records of their interaction with a donor for whom they have provided a statement. The Director cannot make any finding against a solicitor.

The DSS has a statutory function to provide information and guidance to organisations and bodies. The DSS wrote to the Law Society in May 2023 offering to assist with the development of guidance in relation to the new processes for EPAs and met with the Law Society in June 2023.

The DSS has provided guidance to the Law Society setting out the steps a solicitor can take when instructed in respect of the creation and registration of an EPA. This note sets out the end-to-end process including letters of authority, ID verification, completion of applications and the submission of supporting documentation.

That guidance was published by the Law Society on 23 June and can also can be found here: dss-guidance-15.6.23.pdf (

The DSS remains open to engagement with the legal profession in respect of any aspect of the 2015 Act.

The DSS has additional information and resource material on the website that steps through the EPA process in detail.

In particular: