Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship

Social Landscape in Singapore

Singapore could be home to 152,000 people with dementia by 2030, accordingly to the Health Ministry. Another study estimates that one in every 10 people aged 60 and above will be living with dementia. When you can no longer make decisions, who decides for you?

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

What is Mental Incapacity? 

A person is unable to make a decision for himself if he is unable to do all or any one of the following:

(a) understand the information relevant to the decision;

(b) retain that information;

(c) use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision; or

(d) communicate his decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means).

About the Mental Capacity Act (MCA)

The Mental Capacity Act was passed in Parliament in 2008 to allow Singaporeans to appoint persons whom they can trust to make decisions on their behalf in the event that they are mentally incapacitated. The Act came into effect in 2010, when the Office of the Public Guardian was set up and the Code of Practice completed.

MCA enables individual Singaporeans to appoint trusted persons to make decisions on their behalf if they lose their mental capacity in the future. The Act also allows parents of those with intellectual disability to apply to court for appointment of a trusted person as deputy to make decisions for their children when they pass on.

But certain decisions can only be made by legally appointed proxy-decision makers.

MCA provides for the appointment of

  1. ‘Donee’ through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) by persons themselves when they have mental capacity or
  2. ‘Deputy’ by Court for persons who lack mental capacity but did not make an LPA.

Provisions to Protect Persons Who Lack Mental Capacity

The Five Statutory Principles

(1) A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity.

(2) A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success.

(3) An unwise decision does not mean a lack of mental capacity.

(4) An act done or decision made under this Act for a person who is mentally incapacitated must be done in his best interests.

(5) The act done or decision made for the mentally incapacitated person must be least restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.

What Decisions Can Doneers/Deputies Make?

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

What Decisions Donees/Deputies cannot make?

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

Restrictions on Powers of Donees (MCA s13) & Deputies (MCA s25)

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

P refers to mentally incapacitated person.

Who is the LPA for?

Besides dementia, we’ll be dependent on someone else to make decisions on our behalf in the face of mental illness, stroke or a coma. To complicate matters, legal disputes can arise as to who would be the best candidate to execute these decisions – all of which could be avoided by having an LPA in place.

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage 

What is an LPA?

An LPA is a legal document that allows an individual (donor) with mental capacity to appoint a person he trusts (donee) to make decisions on his behalf, when he loses mental capacity.

Although they’re both legally-binding documents, an LPA shouldn’t be confused with a will – which deals with the distribution of your assets or any other decisions that only come into effect upon your death.

An LPA allows you (the Donor) to appoint another (a Donee) to manage your personal and financial matters while you’re alive but no longer able to make decisions due to diminished or total loss of your mental faculties. An LPA is dissolved upon your death, which is also when a will becomes effective.

Who Can Be a Donee?

  1. Someone who is at least 21 years old
  2. A spouse, family members or close friends who can be trusted to act in donor’s best interests
  3. Licensed Trust Company (for Property and Affairs matters only.
  4. A professional deputy registered with the Public Guardian

 

Why Make an LPA While You Can

  1. Protecting the Donor – that’s You!

While becoming handicapped or mentally incapacitated would be devastating, it’s important to ask yourself who you’d consider reliable enough to make decisions that are in your best interests if you were in a such a situation. Or, if we flip the script, would you like to be in charge of your loved one’s needs and personal matters if something unfortunate happened to them?

This person could be a parent, a spouse or one of your adult children, or perhaps even a friend. You’d made this decision with the confidence that you’d be in safe hands, and they’d carry out your wishes to the letter.

  1. Protecting Your Freedom to Choose

Protecting ourselves is important, which is why the freedom of choice is something we should exercise while we can.

An LPA reflects your preferences when it comes to who to have these conversations with if you’re no longer able to. After all, no one wants to be left in the care of someone they didn’t nominate, or worse, may not have their best interests at heart.

  1. Protecting Your Loved Ones

While appointing a Donee is largely about ensuring you’re looked after, it is also about safeguarding your loved ones.

Not enforcing an LPA could mean that your family would have to go through a tedious court process – an undoubtedly time-consuming and unnecessary expense – just to be able to execute decisions for you. Straits Time reported in July 2023 how a family member spent six months and S$7,000 in court fees for the right to care for a sister with dementia – time and money which could’ve been saved if an LPA was made prior.

During a time where your loved ones would already be coping with making sure you’re cared for, having an LPA in place shields them from further stress which could stem from making difficult healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf or dealing with conflicting views within the family.

  1. Protecting Your Timeline of care

If the unfortunate were to happen, you’d want to receive the care you need without delay.

Setting up an LPA means a shorter wait time in more ways than one. Your Donee will not need to wait for any pending court orders to execute medical decisions for you, and insurance payout decisions can also be concluded in a timely manner.For example, if an individual were to be certified severely disabled due to dementia and hence qualifies for monthly payouts under CareShield Life and/or a private supplement plan, a Donee could immediately make the decision to use the payout to cover the cost of hiring a domestic helper, which might in turn mean that family members don’t have to fork out their own money to get the patient the care they require at a vulnerable time in their life.

LPAs to be Made Using OPGO

Since 14 November 2022, all LPAs must be made and submitted via the Office of the Public Guardian (OPGO). Applicants may log in to OPGO via Singpass to do so.

Hardcopy LPA may be submitted under the following exceptional situations:

  1. The Donor / Donee / Replacement Donee is unable to use OPGO due to the Donor’s / Donee’s / Replacement Donee’s physical disability or other circumstances; b. OPGO is unavailable;
    c. The Donor does not have an electronic device to receive SMS to create and access his Singpass account/National Digital Identity (NDI);
    d. The Donor / Donee / Replacement Donee is not eligible for a Singpass account/NDI.

The acceptance of the hardcopy LPA is subject to the Public Guardian’s approval.

Which LPA Form to Use?

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

Applying for an LPA Form 1

Mental Capacity Ecosystem – Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship — Engage

Importance of Making an LPA

  1. Allows personal choice of proxy decision maker
  2. No hassle or gap as proxy decision maker can automatically assume responsibility should individual be certified as having lost mental capacity
  3. Gives family members peace of mind and saves costs, as need not apply to Court for deputyship over individual

 

As a Donee/Deputy, you can learn more about your role using OPG’s website:

www.msf.gov.sg/opg

Important: The information and opinions in this article are for general information purposes only. They should not be relied on as professional financial advice. Readers should seek independent financial advice that is customised to their specific financial objectives, situations & needs. This advertisement or publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Published By:

TAY Mui Huang

Mui Huang works with families and business owners from diverse backgrounds to develop customized financial strategies that fit their unique needs. She believes strongly in an unbiased, independent financial advisory model to help her clients make informed decisions about their financial future.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Business from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 1995. Since 2006, she has been a CFA Chartered Holder (Certified Financial Analyst). 

In her personal time, she enjoys exploring nature trails and cloudspotting.

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根据《个人数据保护法》,鑫盟理财私人有限公司征求您的同意向您收集并使用您的个人信息。鑫盟理财将根据公司的个人数据保护政策所阐述的用途使用您的个人资料(例如姓名,证件号码,联系电话,邮寄地址,电邮地址和照片)。 该政策可在本公司网站上查寻,网址为 https://fa.com.sg/data-protection-policy/.

By submitting this form, you are deemed to have read and understood FAPL’s Personal Data Policy.

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  • 我已阅读并理解鑫盟理财私人有限公司的个人数据保护政策,并同意鑫盟理财私人有限公司根据个人数据保护政策所阐述的用途使用我的个人资料。
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  • I have not been directly contacted or approached by any representative or employee of FAPL with an offer or solicitation to apply for any financial products not offered in my home country.
  • 鑫盟理财私人有限公司的代表或员工并未直接与我联系或提出要约或招揽购买我原居住国境内所不提供的任何金融产品.
  • Financial Alliance Pte Ltd ( “FAPL”) is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) and allowed to conduct financial advisory activities in accordance with the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (“FAA”) and the Securities & Futures Act (Cap. 289) (“SFA”) within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Singapore and in accordance with the licenses granted by MAS
  • 鑫盟理财私人有限公司( “鑫盟理财”)持有由新加坡金融管理局(“MAS”)所颁发的牌照,并许可在新加坡共和国境内依据财务顾问法(第110章)和证券与期货交易法(第289章)进行财务咨询等相关业务
  • Any services provided by FAPL to persons not ordinarily resident in Singapore are provided solely on an offshore basis from Singapore, resulting from direct enquiry on the part of the foreign residents.
  • 鑫盟理财为非新加坡居民所提供的任何服务仅限于直接向鑫盟理财发出咨询请求的国外居民。
  • As an integral part of the provision of such services, FAPL may from time to time make available to such residents, documents and information making reference to capital markets products (for example, in connection with the provision of fund management or investment advisory services outside of the foreign jurisdiction).
  • 作为提供此类服务的一部分,鑫盟理财会不时向此类咨询者提供有关产品的参考文件和信息(例如,关于海外司法管辖区以外的资金管理或投资咨询服务等信息)。
  • Such documents and information are provided by Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) is for general information only and is not intended for anyone other than the recipient.
  • 此类由鑫盟理财所提供的文件和信息仅供收件人做一般信息参考。
  • It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.
  • 此类文件和信息不会把-个人投资目标,财务状况或其特定需求等考虑在内。
  • It does not constitute the making available of, or an offer or solicitation by FAPL to buy or sell or subscribe for any such capital markets product or to enter into a transaction or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy nor an advice or a recommendation with respect to such financial products.
  • 鑫盟理财向该人士提供此类文件和信息将不构成要约或招揽购买或出售或认购任何此类资本市场产品,或达成交易或参与任何特定的投资策略,也不构成有关此类金融产品的建议或推荐。
  • These documents may not be published, circulated, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part to any other person without FAPL’s prior written consent.
  • 未经鑫盟理财的事先书面同意,不得将这些文件全文或部分发布,传播,复制或分发给其他人。
  • This document is not intended for distribution to, publication or use by any person in any jurisdiction, where such distribution, publication or use would be contrary to applicable law or would subject FAPL and its related corporations, connected persons, associated persons and/or affiliates to any registration, licensing or other requirements within such jurisdiction.
  • 鑫盟理财无意在分发,出版或使用此类文件可能违反当地法律,或本公司及关联公司或关联人士需要注册,获得许可或符合规定的司法权区向当地人士分发、出版此类文件或供其使用。
  • You shall ensure that you have and will continue to be fully compliant with all applicable laws in your home country when entering into discussion or contracts with FAPL.
  • 在与鑫盟理财进行讨论或签订合约时,您应确保您已完全遵守并将继续遵守您所在原居住国的所有适用法律及条规。

In compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) seek your consent to collect and use your personal data (e.g. name, NRIC, contact numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses and photograph) for the purposes of and in accordance with FAPL’s Data Protection Policy, which can be found on FAPL’s website at https://fa.com.sg/data-protection-policy/.

根据《个人数据保护法》,鑫盟理财私人有限公司征求您的同意向您收集并使用您的个人信息。鑫盟理财将根据公司的个人数据保护政策所阐述的用途使用您的个人资料(例如姓名,证件号码,联系电话,邮寄地址,电邮地址和照片)。 该政策可在本公司网站上查寻,网址为 https://fa.com.sg/data-protection-policy/.

By submitting this form, you are deemed to have read and understood FAPL’s Personal Data Policy.

提交此表格,即表示您已阅读并理解鑫盟理财私人有限公司的个人数据政策