Did you know when one loses his mental capacity due to illness or accident, the family members will NOT automatically be given the right to make decisions on the person's behalf or have access to his money if there is no LPA?
A friend of a friend fell unconscious due to an illness while travelling. While the individual was able to return to Singapore for treatment, he remained unconscious for many months. His next-of-kin had to handle all his affairs, including his financial obligations such as his mortgage and medical bills which continued piling up.
Unfortunately, his next-of-kin were in no position to help financially and they had no access to his monies to settle any of pending bills.
An LPA could have prevented such desperate situations.
What is LPA?
The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows a person who is at least 21 years of age ('Donor'), to voluntarily appoint one or more persons ('Donee(s)') to make decisions and act on his/her behalf if he/she loses mental capacity one day. A Donee can be appointed to act in the two broad areas of personal welfare and property & affairs matters.
Personal Welfare Decisions include where you should live (Place of Residence), Day-to-Day Care Decisions, handling of personal correspondence, healthcare and medical treatment decisions.
Property and Affairs matters covers Buying, selling, renting and mortgaging your property, managing bank accounts and CPF monies, paying household expenses and utility bills, handling compensations (e.g. accident claims).
Discuss your wishes with your Donee when you make the LPA so that your Donee is informed of your preferences and needs.
There are two types of forms under LPA. 98% of Singapore Citizens who have made an LPA used the LPA Form 1:
LPA Form 1: For Donors who wish to grant Donee(s) general powers with basic restrictions.
LPA Form 2: For Donors who wish to grant Donee(s) customised powers. The clauses have to be drafted by a lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need LPA if I already have a will?
Having a Will is not enough as it is only executed upon death. A person is considered to still be alive even if they lose mental capacity. Potential causes of mental capacity loss can be dementia, stroke, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder etc.
What if I have no LPA?
In the unfortunate event that you lose mental capacity, no one will be given the right to make decisions on your behalf until your family members applies to court for the appointment of a deputy to manage your affairs.
The court may not appoint a deputy of your choice – someone who understands you and will act in your best interests.
Your family members have to apply to the court to be a deputy, and the cost ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, as it includes lawyers' and court fees and this may take as long as a year.
MSF covered a video on a local family and how family relationships could be strained without a LPA: (https://youtu.be/PLiYpjmaMNM)
Can I have a LPA if I'm a foreigner?
Yes, PR and Foreigner friends can apply too at an affordable cost of $300 or less.
152,000 people have already appointed someone to make decisions on their behalf if they become mentally incapacitated, through a legal document called Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) (as of end June 2022).
Read more about LPA here https://www.msf.gov.sg/opg/Pages/The-LPA-The-Lasting-Power-of-Attorney.aspx and apply online here: https://opg-eservice.msf.gov.sg/.
Let us take a moment or two to plan ahead.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.