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Application forms for Lasting Power of Attorney simplified, registration fees waived

The changes come after feedback about the Lasting Power of Attorney since it was launched four years ago.

SINGAPORE: The government is trying to encourage more Singaporeans to make an application for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

That's when one legally appoints another person to make decisions and act on his behalf, in the event he's mentally incapacitated.

This could be if dementia strikes, if a person has a stroke or if he suffers head trauma, as a result of an accident.

Over 6,000 applications have been made since the LPA was introduced four years ago. 

It's hoped that more Singaporeans will come on board early.

Hundreds of cases are brought to court every year because of ambiguity over who takes charge of the welfare or assets, of a person who has lost his mental capacity. 

Without an LPA, appointed Deputies - those who are acting on behalf of a family member who has lost his or her mental capacity to make decisions - often have to go through a long-drawn court process to settle their family members' affairs.

On average, there are about 200 court orders to appoint Deputies every year.

To encourage more people to make an LPA application, forms have been simplified, taking away legal and technical jargon.

The S$50 registration for applications have also been waived for the basic LPA Form 1 form for the next two years.

Registration fees will still apply if an applicant needs to customise his LPA.

Applicants will still need to pay professional fees charged by LPA certificate issuers, such as accredited General Practitioners and lawyers.

Fees for this cost at least $50.

To make it more convenient, SingPost will offer free postal service for the submission of forms over the next two years.

The changes come after feedback about the LPA, since it was launched four years ago.

The new initiatives kick off from September this year.

The LPA was introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act, taking into account Singapore's ageing population.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said: "People with children and lots of family responsibility should seriously think about this because while we are working very hard today to provide for our families, we never really know when something untoward may happen towards us and it's also not just for us but for the rest of the family members and our children."

And it's not just about appointing someone trusted to settle your financial affairs. The person appointed, known as the LPA Donee, can also make decisions on a person's well-being.

The LPA donees can be changed at any time.

Most LPA applicants are between the ages of 56 and 70. It's all about encouraging people to sign up early, even before they need it. Young Singaporeans are also encouraged to sign up as one will never know when an accident may strike.

Richard Magnus, chairman of the Public Guardian Board, said: "When an accident happens and you lose your mental capacity then who decides? Who provides the consent for your medical care and your medical treatment? We have seen quite a number of cases like that."

The LPA also comes in useful to settle any disputes among family members.

Mr Chan explained: "Some people have different next-of-kin and they have to choose one next-of-kin to decide. For example, some of the stories we have heard, they have many brothers or sisters and they need to find an agreement to come to a consensus on what needs to be done.

"And sometimes in a critical moment, whether it's for medical reasons or otherwise, you need someone to take charge and say that this is the person who will act on my best interest. This is the reason why even though we all have our next-of-kin, we should try to find that one person to facilitate that whole process because sometimes these are critical decisions."

The LPA form can be downloaded from this website.

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