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'We need to talk': Conversation tips and starters

When you are creating an enduring power of attorney it is very important that you discuss your options with an independent solicitor. You should agree the particular decision-making powers you wish to authorise your attorney(s) to have if you lose decision-making capacity in the future. It is also very important that you have a frank and open conversation with your nominated attorney(s) regarding the specific decision-making authority you wish to give to them, if you lose mental capacity in the future. Furthermore, you should make sure that they understand your preferences and wishes regarding the decisions they may have to make on your behalf in the future.

You may find it difficult to start a conversation about your wishes and preferences regarding certain decisions that you would like made on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself in the future. This may be a sensitive topic and you may feel hesitant about bringing it up. These conversation starters and tips are intended to encourage you to find the right words and the right time both for you and for those around you.

Top Tips

Be prepared. Plan the conversation beforehand and if you find it helpful write down a few opening statements which you can bring with you to the conversation. Ask yourself some key questions:

  • What is your purpose for having this conversation?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What would be an ideal outcome?

Never make a decision on the spot. This is your money and you have the right to take your time in considering what is best for you. State clearly that you will not make a decision straight away, that you will consider your options and discuss them with your family/friend/financial advisor/solicitor. It is also strongly recommended that you bring a pen and paper with you into the conversation so that you can take notes about what is discussed and what is agreed.

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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