Singapore Lasting Power of Attorney FAQ

Lasting Power of Attorney FAQ

Singapore Lasting Power of Attorney FAQ on issues relating to Singapore Lasting Power of Attorney of Mental Capacity Act, and the procedures for procuring an Singapore LPA, revocation, and post-LPA matters. Lasting Power of Attorney FAQ 

General

When a person loses his mental capacity (eg. stroke, dementia, coma), he will not be able to decide matters for himself. A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document which allows a person who is 21 years of age or older (the”Donor”‘), to voluntarily appoint one or more persons called donee or donees (or Attorney(s)), to act and make decisions on his behalf if he should lose mental capacity one day.

The LPA allows a person to protect his interests by indicating his personal, considered choice of a decision maker, i.e. someone he trusts to be reliable, competent and capable, to make decisions and act on his behalf should he becomes vulnerable when he loses his mental capacity.

A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Donee can be appointed to cover two broad areas: personal welfare and/or property & affairs matters.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is only effective when you lose your mental capacity, and it is a creation of the Mental Capacity Act to allow an adult with the requisite mental capacity to chose his Donee or Attorney to make certain decisions upon him losing his mental capacity.

A Power of Attorney only allows your Donee or Attorney to act within the powers given by you thereunder to act on your behalf when you still have your mental capacity. When you lose your mental capacity or die, the powers granted under the Power of Attorney shall be invalid or ineffective.

Usually, it is a matter of trust that the Donor places on each Donee to act in his or her best interest. If the Donor is comfortable with any Donee making decisions on his or her behalf, then he or she should select the mode “jointly and severally”.

It is ultimately a matter of choice for the Donor to decide.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Will serve different purposes.

Essentially, LPA will only be effective only upon the Donor losing his or her mental capacity, and will lose its effectiveness upon one’s death.

A Will on the other hand is only effective upon the Testator’s (the one making the Will) death.

LPA and Will are strictly voluntary, and you can do either or both. However, in our humble opinion, it is good to have both LPA and Will.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an advance planning document, just like a Will, in which you make it before the happening of an event, i.e. before losing your mental capacity.

It allows you to protect your interests (health, financial matters) by indicating your personal choice of a proxy decision maker (attorney or donee). He is usually someone you trust to be reliable, competent and capable to act and make decisions on your behalf should you lose your mental capacity.

In brief, the benefits are:-

  1. the decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose capacity to make them yourself
  2. the people you want to make these decisions
  3. how you want the people to make these decisions

By planning ahead, it also alleviates the difficulties faced by your loved ones to obtain a court order for a guardian (called a “deputy”) (who may not be your choice) to decide on your personal affiars should you lose your mental capacity. Application to court can cost substantial legal costs and expense as well.

These 2 documents are different, although there appear to be some overlap.

In LPA Form 1, for Personal Welfare powers, there is a question on whether your Donee’s authority shall extend to giving or refusing consent to the carrying out or continuation of treatment, including the conduct of a clinical trial, by a person providing health care for me. These decisions are made by the appointed Donee.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) is a legal document you sign in advance to inform your doctor that you do not want the use of any life-sustaining treatment to be used to prolong your life in the event you become terminally ill and unconscious and where death is imminent.

The AMD can be made by any person, aged 21 years and above, and is not mentally disordered. The AMD form is a legal document which must be completed and signed in the presence of two witnesses before it is returned to the Registrar of AMDs. The patient’s doctor must be one of the two witnesses, while the other witness must be at least 21 years old. In addition, both witnesses must not have any vested interests in the patient’s death.

Donee

You can appoint one or more donees.

However, you may not want to appoint too many donees as complications may arise when these donees cannot agree on the decisions to be made. You should choose donees that are willing to work together so that differences in opinions may be resolved amicably, thereby avoiding any deadlock.

The donee should be someone trustworthy, reliable and competent to make decisions that you have authorised.

A personal welfare donee must be an individual who is at least 21 years old when the LPA is signed. The donee must be a person; (e.g. “Fiona Fernandez”), and not a job title; (e.g. “my lawyer”).

A company or business cannot be appointed as a personal welfare donee.

A property & affairs donee must:

  • Be an individual who is at least 21 years old when the LPA is signed, or
  • Be a licensed trust company as prescribed by the Mental Capacity Regulations.
  • Be an individual who is not an undischarged bankrupt

The decisions your donee will be able to make will depend on the powers you have provided him with in your LPA.

Your donee may be authorised to make decisions regarding:
a. Personal welfare (including health care decisions) and/or
b. Property & affairs (including finance matters)

Yes, the Donee must be informed and he must give his consent. He is required to complete his particulars in the LPA form.

Powers

In general, a personal welfare donee helps to make decisions on behalf of the donor, relating to matters such as where the donor should stay and his daily activities.

The types of decisions and actions a personal welfare donee may be authorised to make include:

  • where the donor should live,
  • who the donor should live with,
  • day to day care decisions (e.g. what to wear and eat),
  • what social activities to take part in,
  • handling the donor’s personal correspondence, and
  • whom the donor may have contact with.

The list above contains some examples of the types of decisions and actions a personal welfare donee may make but it is not a complete list.

In general, a property & affairs donee helps to make decisions on behalf of the donor relating to his financial matters such as managing his bank account and property.

The types of decisions a property & affairs donee may be authorised to make include:

  • dealing with property – buying, selling, renting and mortgaging property,
  • opening, closing and operating bank accounts,
  • receiving dividends, income, or other financial entitlements on behalf of the donor,
  • handling tax matters,
  • paying the rent, mortgage repayments and household expenses,
  • investing the donor’s savings, and
  • purchasing a vehicle or other equipment the donor needs

The list above contains some examples of the types of decisions and actions a property & affairs donee may make but it is not a complete list.

Revocation

Generally, you can revoke your Lasting Power of Attorney any time so long you have the requisite mental capacity.

You will need to following the procedures prescribed, generally:

  1. Sign a Revocation Form as prescribed by Office of Public Guardian
  2. Notify every Donee of the Revocation
  3. Notify the Public Guardian of the revocation
  4. You may also wish to give notice of the revocation to any person that you have previously informed about the LPA (eg. your bank or other financial institution, CPF Board, etc).

Apart from the revocation (termination) of your LPA, it will be cancelled or the appointment of the Donee will be terminated in the following circumstances:

  • you or your Donee dies
  • your Donee lacks mental capacity
  • your Donee formally declines the appointment as a donee (refer to Disclaimer by a Donee of a Lasting Power of Attorney (OPG Form D1))
  • a divorce between your Donee and you, applicable if your Donee is your spouse and you have not stated otherwise in your LPA
  • you or your donee becomes a bankrupt or if your donee is a licensed trust company, the company is liquidated, wound up, dissolved or under judicial management (Note: this applies to the property & affairs donee only)
  • a Court order is made to cancel the LPA or your Donee’s powers, where your Donee has not acted in your best interest.

The Public Guardian must informed of the occurrence of a terminating event, and the original Lasting Power of Authority and any office copies must be retuned to the Office of Public Guardian.

Whole LPA is Cancelled

If the LPA is cancelled because of the occurrence of an terminating event, the Public Guardian will cancel the registration of the LPA and inform the donor and/or the donee(s) of the cancellation.

For example, you have appointed Donee A in your LPA for personal welfare and property & affairs, and Donee A dies or loses his mental capacity, and you have not appointed any replacement donee, then your LPA is affected as Donee A can’t act for you if you lose your mental capacity.

Upon such occurence, you should notify and return the original LPA to OPG and the Public Guardian will cancel the registration of your LPA.

Partial Termination of LPA

If the power of any Donee is terminated in any way but the LPA is not cancelled, the Public Guardian will add a note on the original LPA (and any office copies). The LPA reference number will be cancelled and a new LPA reference number will be given.

For example, you have appointed Donee A in your LPA for personal welfare and property & affairs, and named Replacement Donee B to be the replacement donee. If Donee A dies, then your LPA is affected as Donee A can’t act for you.

In that event, you should notify Public Guardian of the event and return your LPA to the Office of Public Guardian. Public Guardian will add a note on your LPA that Donee A has died and that Replacement Donee B will replaced him. A new LPA reference number will be issued.

List of Revoked Lasting of Public Guardian

Upon revocation or termination of an LPA, OPG will publish a list of the revoked LPA numbers in their website.

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