A Complete Guide on the Lasting Power of Attorney in Singapore
At some point in our lives, all our plans and even decisions we want to make will be beyond our control. It is normal because as we age, we tend to lose the mental capacity to make decisions for ourselves and make plans for our future that may or may not come.
And while it is scary to confront this idea of losing control, as early as now, we have the power to control these circumstances. This is possible because of the Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA.
If you wish to prepare for every possible situation in your future, stick around and read our top guide about LPA.
Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person or persons to help you decide once you are in a situation wherein you are not mentally capable of doing so. The “donor,” which is you, will find a “donee,” which is the one who will decide for you to be prepared in every situation in the future that requires intense decision-making.2
You can get this legal document once you reach the age of 21. LPA secures you to protect your interests by choosing your trusted donee that is capable, reliable, competent, and mentally prepared to decide on your behalf once you lose your mental capacity to do so.
The LPA will only take its effect once you lose mental capacity. These conditions are (but are not limited to) the factors1
- Advanced dementia
- Mental Health Illness
- Long term unconsciousness caused by an illness or a grave accident
In securing an LPA as early as now, you are giving yourself and your loved ones a peace of mind if something happens to you.
Generally, you want a donee that is competent, responsible, smart, and mentally capable of making decisions on your behalf. But to be more specific, here are the types of donees that you can get4:
A professional donee is hired through specific organizations or individuals who present as a professional donee paid for their service. They can be lawyers and more. Take note that if you wish to hire a professional donee, they should not be related to you in any form. Professional donees are only allowed to manage the donor’s property and affairs.
A Non-Professional Donee is a donee selected by a donor without compensation. They can be an individual or included in an organization. This type of donee can be your family relative or a friend. However, they must be at least 21 years old before they take this responsibility, and they are only allowed to manage your property and affairs. Undischarged bankrupts are also not allowed to be a non-professional donee.
First and foremost, the responsibility of the donee is to use their given power to adhere to the best interests of the donor. Section 6 of the Mental Capacity Act carefully states these best interests4. But generally, there are two types of powers the donee has, and that is 1) personal welfare and 2) property and affairs.
If the donee did not perform according to the donor’s interest, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) could investigate the case and even file charges against the donee.
To avoid this, the form should include restrictions and conditions set between the donor and the donee. This is to limit the power the donee has.
Remember, there should be a constant conversation and consultation between you, the donee, and your lawyer regarding this matter. And it is best to hire a donee that you fully trust.
The reason is straightforward: to avoid the hassle. Since the LPA is pre-planned and prepared before you lose your mental capacity, everything you want to happen in the future will be done according to your needs and wants.
Remember that if you do not have an LPA before this event, if anything happens to you in the future, your loved ones are required to obtain a court order to administer the affairs on your behalf properly. This court order appoints a person to be the court-appointed deputy manager to manage your affairs if you lose your mental capacity to make decisions.
And we all know how big of a hassle it is to process files under the court. Not only is this time-consuming, but it can also be costly to process. Aside from this, you and your loved ones do not have the control of hiring the best deputy manager for you.
You have to remember that LPAs made in Singapore are not recognized in other countries and vice versa. If you are the type of person who has citizenship in other countries, your best option is to get another LPA in those countries (because they probably have their own set of rules and conditions).
There are three easy steps to apply for an LPA in Singapore. Here are the steps that you should take note of:
We have already elaborated the qualifications of a donee, and it is now your choice to either choose one or two donees. You can select one or two donees in your LPA Form 1 only. The LPA Form 2 is a different set of forms3. To be precise:
- LPA Form 1
This is the general and basic LPA form that Singaporeans widely use. This form aims to give primary and general powers with basic restrictions.
- LPA Form 2
This form is the customizable type of LPA and is often used for people who wish to have different powers and restrictions to the donees. To use this, you have to contact a lawyer who can help you draft the LPA Form 2.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect donee for you, it is now your responsibility to decide what powers you will grant to your donee. It can be related to your personal welfare, property and affairs, or both.
If you want to appoint more than one donee, it is also your decision whether they’ll decide “jointly” or “jointly and severally.”
To further explain:
- Jointly – Every decision they will make on your behalf should be agreed upon by both, and it has to be decided together.
- Jointly and severally – This means your donees have the freedom to decide separately or decide with other donees.
You can customize the power the donee has on every condition. Say that you want to make it jointly for this particular condition or event, and vice versa.
Side note: If you want a strong backup while making an LPA, you can also nominate people who can replace a donee if the concurrent donee or donees are not a good representative on your behalf.
After finally choosing your donee and settling your preferred LPA Form, hire a certificate issuer to certify the form for you officially.
The purpose of the certification is for you to fully understand the LPA Form you created and the consequences of the LPA. This process also assures that there is no fraudulent activity in making the LPA or the LPA is not made under pressure. That is why we want to reiterate that you should only get an LPA if only your heart is fully set.
In choosing a certificate issuer, they can be a lawyer, psychiatrist, or an accredited doctor. If you opted for Form 2, the one who drafted your LPA is the one who will certify the LPA.
After preparing your chosen LPA Form, you have to mail the application to the OPG within six months of signing it. You can send the form to this address:
20 Lengkok Bahru #04-02
Family @ Enabling Village
Once sent, the OPG will contact you for further payment that needs to be done and other details. After this, you have to wait for three weeks after the OPG accepts your application to register your LPA officially. However, during these three weeks, the OPG has the power to make objections to the LPA. If there is, you have to be ready to accommodate their objections.
The LPA is genuinely a fantastic way to secure the inconceivable future. If you think that you are powerless to control the best-case scenario for yourself, then maybe it is time to reclaim your power by getting an LPA.
If you wish to know more about Lasting Power of Attorney, our advisers can help you refer the best LPA services from our approved referral partners. At the same time, if you want more advice for more measures that you can do to secure your future, contact us and sign up for our upcoming and exciting events.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Professional Investment Advisory Services Pte Ltd. The information contained in this article is for general information only and does not constitute the provision of financial advisory services. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any services or products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customized advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Apex Financial Advisor Representative
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1 Health Hub. (2019, April 29). Lasting Power of Attorney. Health Hub. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/259/lasting_power_attorney_LPA
2 Money Sense. (2018, November 5). Lasting power of attorney. Money Sense. https://www.moneysense.gov.sg/articles/2018/11/lasting-power-of-attorney-lpa
3 Office of the Public Guardian. (n.d.). The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Ministry of Social and Family Development. https://www.msf.gov.sg/opg/Pages/The-LPA-The-Lasting-Power-of-Attorney.aspx
4 Singapore Legal Advice. (2021, March 15). Making a Lasting Power of Attorney. Singapore Legal Advice. https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/what-is-a-lasting-power-of-attorney/
Apex Private Wealth Management is an authorised group of Financial Adviser representatives from Professional Investment Advisory Services Pte Ltd