Associate HotseatLasting Power Of Attorney (LPA)

September 29, 2023
Question 1:
What is an LPA?
Mario Mah's answer
The 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.​
Benjamin Choo's answer
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them yourself. These decisions could be about your health, finances, or other important matters. It’s like giving someone the power to act as your voice and make choices according to your wishes when you’re not able to do so.
Question 2:
Why do I need an LPA?
Mario Mah's answer
The importance of LPA can be easily overlooked because the possibility of losing mental capacity is often not a thought that is at the forefront of people’s minds. I had a client in his 60s who came to me because his mother was diagnosed with Dementia. He had to put her up in a nursing home which amounted to about $3,000 every month and it was depleting his savings rapidly. He asked if he could sell his mother’s property valued at $900,000 to fund her long-term care costs. The only way to do that was to apply for deputyship and the legal fees to do so was about $8,000 back then! Sadly, his brothers did not agree to it as they felt that they will be giving up their inheritance and that their elder brother (my client) may misuse the funds. If LPA was done back when his mother was of sound mind, it could have avoided a lot of problems that he is currently facing.
Benjamin Choo's answer
This ensures that your preferences are respected and that someone you trust is there to take care of things if you’re unable to do so yourself. It’s an important legal tool for protecting your interests and well-being in case you ever face a situation where you can’t make decisions independently.
Question 3:
How do I make an LPA?
Mario Mah's answer

Before you make an LPA, I recommend going through with an Estate Planner to help you access your current situation, identify your wishes in the event that you lose mental capacity and from there, you may identify if Form 1 / 2 is best suited to your needs.

Benjamin Choo's answer

Firstly, choose trustworthy individuals (Donees) who will make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Secondly, login to your Singpass and complete the LPA Form 1 from the website of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) Singapore with accurate information about yourself, your Donees, and your preferences for decision-making.

Thirdly, you’ll need a Certificate Issuer (a qualified professional: either a lawyer, accredited medical practitioner or psychiatrist) and a witness to witness your signing of the form.

Lastly, in order to register the LPA, submit the completed LPA Form 1 to the OPG for registration (by Singpass). There’s a fee involved (currently waived for all Singaporeans till 31 March 2026). Once registered, you will be notified by email and SMS.
Question 4:
What is the difference between LPA form 1 and 2?
Mario Mah's answer

Form 1 gives a general “blanket” authority to the Donee(s) which is the most sensible thing to do since the Donor would have already lost his mental capacity.

Form 2 is customised and has to be drafted by a lawyer e.g. when a Donor only wants his Donee(s) to manage his business, investments or brokerage accounts.

Benjamin Choo's answer

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 in the LPA Form 2 have to be drafted by a lawyer.
Question 5:
What kind of decisions can my Donee make? And who can be my Donee?
Mario Mah's answer

Donees may be granted the authority to make decisions on 2 main aspects in a Donor’s life: personal welfare and/or property and affairs (including finance matters). So it is advised that the Donor choose wisely on the powers that you want to grant to them.

Benjamin Choo's answer

2 types of decisions a donee can make:

Personal Welfare Decisions: This includes decisions about your daily routine, living arrangements, medical treatments and social activities.

Property and Affairs Decisions: This involves managing your financial matters, property transactions, paying bills, and managing assets on your behalf.

Who Can Be Your Donee:

Individuals: You can appoint individuals as your Donees. These can be family members, friends, or anyone you trust to act in your best interests. 

Professionals: You can also appoint professionals, such as lawyers or accountants, to be your Donee. However, they must be licensed to provide the relevant services. 

Keep in mind that there are certain restrictions when selecting Donees. For example, individuals who are bankrupt or have certain convictions may not be eligible.

When choosing a Donee, consider someone who knows you well, understands your values, and will act in your best interests. Discuss your decision with your chosen Donee(s) beforehand to ensure they’re willing to take on this responsibility and understand your preferences.
Question 6:
Any word of advice to people who are looking to do up their LPA?
Mario Mah's answer
When choosing a Donee, it is best to consider the responsibilities and powers granted to your Donees. Do consider if your resources are sufficient to cater for yourself in the long run. Caring for a person who has lost his/her mental capacity is no easy task and selecting a responsible person to be your Donee and making sufficient provisions for your expenses is crucial. If no proper planning has been put in place, it can take a toll on your family members.
Benjamin Choo's answer

A thorough pre-planning process is very important before doing up your LPA.

Guidance for decision-making:
Discuss your healthcare preferences with your loved ones and healthcare providers. Document your wishes for medical treatments, life-sustaining interventions, and end-of-life care clearly. This guidance is crucial for your appointed Donee under the LPA to make decisions that align with your values and preferences. This can make decision-making less stressful for your appointed representative and relieve your Donees of the burden of having to make difficult healthcare decisions without knowing your preferences.

Reducing family conflicts:
Proper pre-planning can help prevent conflicts amongst family members regarding your medical preferences. If your Donees have a clear understanding of your healthcare preferences, they can make informed decisions, and this will minimize disagreements and stress amongst your loved ones.

Alignment with personal values:
Pre-planning allows you to express your values, beliefs, and priorities in healthcare decisions. These values can guide your Donee’s choices when managing your personal welfare through the LPA.

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