GUIDE TO LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that appoints someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer make them yourself. Getting legal advice from a lawyer when creating your LPA is vital, as some specific forms and procedures must be followed. Our team has years of experience dealing with the Office of Public Guardian, so we can guide you through the process and ensure your LPA is correctly created and registered.
1. Who Are The People Most Affected?
Around 10% of the Singapore population is at or above retirement age. Many of them are fit, healthy and capable of looking after themselves. But illness and accident can strike anyone, anytime, when least expected.
2. How Can A LPA Help Me?
Many people plan for the future by saving, investing, and buying insurance. They want to be prepared for any possible scenario. Few people think about the possibility of losing their mental capacity which is a real challenge to our physical and emotional well-being. Planning for this event can undoubtedly help reduce stress for our family members.
A LPA helps you appoint people you trust to act on your behalf if you should lose mental capacity. A LPA can give you peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be carried out even if you cannot communicate them when you are mentally incapacitated.
3. What Is the Difference Between A LPA And A Power of Attorney?
A LPA is only effective when you lose your mental capacity.
A Power of Attorney is only effective when you still have your mental capacity and the scope of powers of your Attorney to act within the powers given by you. If you lose your mental capacity, the powers granted under the Power of Attorney shall be invalid or ineffective.
4. What Could Happen If I Don’t Make A LPA?
Losing one’s mental capacity is not just for the elderly; younger people may become incapacitated through accident or illness. When someone suffers a loss of mental capacity, they can no longer make decisions for themselves and need someone else to do so. This can be difficult for both the individual and their loved ones.
Without a LPA, your family will have to apply to the court to get access and take control of your assets and finances. Applying to the court can be expensive and time-consuming, and there is no guarantee that the court will grant authority to your family members. Making a LPA ensures that your wishes are carried out quickly and efficiently if you become incapacitated.
5. When Does A LPA Take Effect?
A LPA will only take effect if you lose mental capacity and a registered medical practitioner has verified your condition.
6. How Do I Make A LPA?
To make a LPA, there are 2 forms which you can use.
LPA Form 1 – Standard Form
The standard form is the most commonly used, allowing the Donor to grant general powers to the Donee with some basic restrictions. 98% of Singapore Citizens who have made a LPA used the LPA Form 1.
The 2 general powers granted in LPA Form 1 are:-
(a) the Personal and Welfare “power,” deals with matters that involve the person’s well-being. The decisions about the person’s health, where they should be cared for and how. It also involves the medical decisions that may have to be made. These decisions could even have life or death implications.
(b) the Property and Affairs “power,” deals with matters that involve a person’s belongings and financial situation. It can be pretty mundane, like paying bills, checking that their bank account is in order, looking after investments, etc.
LPA Form 2 – Customised Form
The comprehensive form is more complex, allowing the Donor to grant specific powers to the Donee. It also includes more detailed restrictions on the use of the power. Only 2% of Singapore Citizens who have made a LPA used the LPA Form 2.
6. Whom Can I Appoint As My Attorney?
You may appoint anyone you trust to make decisions on your behalf, in your best interests, as your Attorney as long as (1) they are over 21 years old; (2) not bankrupt, and (3) are willing to take on the role as your Attorney, which is a serious responsibility.
ISSUES TO CONSIDER
1. Whom do you wish to be your Attorney?
2. Do you want to appoint more than 1 Attorney?
3. If your Attorney cannot act, do you want to appoint a replacement Attorney?
4. If you have more than 1 Attorney, do you want them to make joint decisions (i.e. cannot act separately), or can they make decisions separately?