The Lasting Power of Attorney:
Ever wonder what happen if you lose the ability to make decisions your-self ?
The scenario is real. Below are some conditions that may cause a person to lose mental capacity (ability to make decision) and it can happen suddenly when you least expected.
2. Traumatic brain injury or brain cancer
4. Mental health problems
If the unfortunate event does happen, who is going to make decisions on your behalf? Who is going to take care of you? Where or who are you going to stay with? What happen to your saving? Your flat/house?
A Lasting Power of Attorney “LPA” is a legal document which allows a person (donor) to voluntarily appoint one or more persons (donee/s), to make decisions and act on his behalf if he/she should lose mental capacity one day.
The donor can appoint the donee/s to make decision in two broad areas:personal welfare and property & affairs matters. However, they can only do so when the donor loss mental capacity and the donee/s would have to act on the best interest of the donor.
The LPA allows you to protect your interests by indicating your preferred, trusted and capable person to make decisions and act on your behalf should you become vulnerable when you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions one day.
By having an LPA in place, it also alleviates the stress and difficulties faced by your loved ones if you should lose mental capacity. So plan ahead.
What are the criteria to qualify someone to make an LPA?
1. You must be at least 21 years old
2. You must have the mental capacity to make the LPA
3. You must not be an undischarged bankrupt if you wish to make An LPA for property & affairs matters.
4. And, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Can I terminate or change my LPA after it is registered?
Yes, you can, at any time when you have the mental capacity. If you do want to make changes to your LPA, you need to terminate your current LPA and re-register.
What is the difference between a written will and LPA?
Basically, a will only takes effect after a person has passed away and what is left at the time of death is distributed to the appointed recipients.
LPA on the other hand takes effect once a living person loses his/her mental capacity. Every decision made by the donee should be in the best interest of the donor.
Talk to your LPA accredited family doctor or visit https://www.publicguardian.gov.sg for more information.
(Dr Lee Chong Han)