Issued by the National Solicitors Alliance
Monday, July 22nd 2019.

A nationwide alliance of small and medium sized solicitor firms has said it is committed to supporting legal services which better safeguard the public.

The National Solicitors Alliance (NSA) said it would support measures to increase public take-up of Enduring Powers of Attorney, Advance Healthcare Directives and public understanding of legal services.

NSA spokesperson Solicitor Brian Cunneen said that take up of Enduring Power of Attorney, or making Advance Healthcare Directives was low in Ireland and should increase.

A representative survey by Red C in 2018 reported that just 6% of adults had appointed an Enduring Power of Attorney.

The NSA includes 50 member firms across the country, including 200 solicitors. The Alliance was launched last October and its aim is to help smaller and medium sized local legal firms to collectively develop and grow as businesses.

“The NSA leadership team would be happy to discuss and recommend to our members that they support common sense and workable incentives, which Government could introduce in Budget 2020, to increase uptake of both Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directives.

“As we are all living longer and often with chronic health conditions, these are important safeguarding protections for all people to have in place.

“Having advance planning and an appointed Attorney, is also essential for clarity in future dealings with banks and to appropriately fund future health and care needs, should we lose capacity.

“As Solicitors we are well placed to be proactive in helping to get more people signed up, and also to raise greater awareness of why planning ahead is important.”

Mr Cunneen said that the NSA was also writing to local radio stations across the country this week offering members availability to go on air and raise a better public understanding of legal services.

Brian Cunneen said: “The concept of the National Solicitors’ Alliance is simple – we are bringing the local knowledge and expertise of our member firms into a national network, to empower and compete on a larger scale for personal, corporate, and State legal services.

“The NSA is also committed to being public facing, promoting and protecting local legal businesses in rural areas, towns and cities.”

Appointing an Attorney under Enduring Power of Attorney means that, in addition to their Will, people appoint legal and financial decision-making powers to a chosen person to make decisions for them at a time when they may lack decision-making capacity.

Putting in place an Advance Healthcare Directive means officially recording future healthcare preferences such as place of care, or treatment preferences. This would then inform care decisions at a time when a person may lack decision-making capacity.

Details of NSA member firms at www.nsalliance.ie

Further Information:
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.