Empty Link

Adult Safeguarding Day - Assistance on Your Account

Community 3 min read

18 Nov 2021

Adult Safeguarding Day is an initiative coordinated by Safeguarding Ireland in partnership with organisations across the health, social, financial and justice sectors. The aim is to raise a greater awareness and understanding of safeguarding with respect to 1) rights 2) services and 3) empowerment.

In its inaugural year, here at the credit union, we hope to see this day continue for many years to come, as we are not just a financial institution, but a community based not for profit organisation, who put the needs of our members at the forefront of everything we do.

The Operating Principles of the credit union prioritise the economic and social well-being of all members through their vision of social justice, and wider benefit of this to the local community.

What happens if I need assistance to manage my account?

As a general rule, where a member is having difficulty in managing their own affairs, the credit union is committed to ensuring that this member’s funds are protected from interference, and we take our duty of care to protect the funds of the member very seriously.

Please come and speak to us if you have any questions or concerns in relation to the operation of your account. Sometimes you may need assistance in managing your account.

As such, the credit union can discuss options with you to plan ahead. These options might look at the following:

Creating a third-party authority

A third-party authority lets you select someone to do day-to-day transactions on your account. If your relationship with that person changes, you can cancel the authority and they will no longer be able to access your money.

A specific form is required to be completed and signed and will remain in place for the period recorded on the form. You will need to specify who the third party is, their relationship to you, how much you wish them to withdraw, and how often this withdrawal should occur.

The credit union will adhere to your wishes, and only permit withdrawals as instructed by you. If you change your mind at any time and no longer need the third party authority to be in place, let us know and we will stop third party access to your account.

If you are interested in setting up a third-party authority, check with credit union staff. They will discuss your wishes and ensure that these wishes are fulfilled.

*Please note that the authority will be revoked (cancelled) if you suffer from a severe cognitive impairment.

Creating a power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal arrangement that permits another person to act for you in matters such as financial matters. This person is called an attorney. They should be someone you know you can trust to act on your behalf and to follow your wishes.

There are two types of power of attorney: general and enduring.

  • General power of attorney

    A general power of attorney allows you to give another person the power to act for you while you have the capacity to manage your own affairs. You can let them act in general or for a specific purpose. This can be useful if, for example, you are travelling for long periods of time, or are house-bound due to a physical incapacity.

    However, if a severe cognitive impairment renders it difficult for you to manage your own affairs, a general power of attorney is no longer valid. If you decide to set up a general power of attorney, make sure there is someone else you trust who can tell the credit union the general power of attorney is no longer valid.

  • Enduring power of attorney

    An enduring power of attorney is put in place when you are in a position to make decisions regarding your affairs, but it only comes into effect when you can no longer manage your own affairs.
    If this becomes the case, the attorney you appointed must apply to the courts to have the enduring power of attorney registered. If you think a general or enduring power of attorney is the right way for you to manage your finances, talk to your solicitor.


Ward of Court (this is due to be phased out in 2022 under new legislation)

Where a person loses the ability to make decisions on their own, but there is no enduring power of attorney in place, family members or other persons close to them may apply to the High Court to make them a ward of court.

This procedure means that the Courts must be satisfied that the person can no longer make decisions on their own. If this is accepted by the Courts, the person is deemed to be a ‘Ward of Court’ and a Committee of the Ward will be appointed to manage the person’s affairs.

This Committee is likely to be the people applying to the Court on behalf of the person. If the Court approves the application, the Committee must get the Court’s permission in order to make decisions for the person. This process results in a Court Order being made.

The Committee will then be required to present the Court Order to the credit union in order to get access to the member’s funds.

How can the credit union help if I find it difficult to make a decision and need assistance?  

If it becomes clear to you that you are having difficulty in making decisions on your own, the credit union will do all it can to enable you to continue transacting on your account for as long as possible.

Where you are finding it difficult to manage your own account, the credit union will work with you, your family or carers, or other persons helping you to ensure that your account is properly managed.

As mentioned earlier, if there is a general power of attorney or a third party authority in place, this will be deemed to have expired, and any persons previously permitted to withdraw on your account will no longer have access to the funds.

Change in the mental health legislation and services

New legislation is coming in which will change the way that adults who have difficulty making decisions are supported. The Decision Support Service has been set up at the Mental Health Commission, and when the legislation is introduced, in June 2022, other arrangements can be put in place to replace the Ward of Court application. You can find information about the Decision Support Service on their website https://decisionsupportservice.ie/.
If you need to contact your credit union to discuss any matter, you can find their details on our Credit Union Locator. Once the credit union is made aware of the circumstances involved, we will do everything possible to ensure that you continue to be in control of your credit union affairs, and that your funds are well-safeguarded.