Sunday, April 18, 2010


Imagine this: You just had a stroke and are in no position to manage your assets or decide on your personal welfare. Who could do that on your behalf? That would be your spouse, or your adult children. What happens if both parties do not see eye to eye on certain issues?

That's where the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) comes in. Under this new Act, you can appoint anyone you trust to act as your donee during the period when you are unable to use your mental faculties. The donee must be at least 21 years old, and not an undischarged bankrupt.
You can specify the details and terms in a document called the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Click here for a copy of the LPA form. All completed forms must be submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Singapore. A registration fee of S$50 is equired for Form 1 (standard) and S$200 for Form 2.

Those aged 65+ now make up 8.6% of the population. This is expected to reach 13 % in 2020. With advancing age comes a higher risk of losing our intellectual capabilities through brain injury or mental illnesses. A case in point: the number of people with dementia in Singapore is estimated to grow from 22,000 five years ago to 53,000 in another decade.

Having a legal document like the LPA allows us to plan for our asset management when we are still alive but unable to think or decide for ourselves. This is unlike a will which becomes effective only upon our demise.

For more information on the MCA and LPA, visit the Public Guardian website. In the UK, the Mental Capacity Act was passed in 2005. You can read more about it here.

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