SINGAPORE: A scheme has been launched to allow individuals to appoint professionals to act as their proxies and make decisions on their behalf, should they lose their mental capacity in the future.
This was announced by the Office of the Public Guardian and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Friday (Sep 21).
Under the newly launched Professional Deputies and Donees scheme, qualified individuals - such as lawyers, accountants, medical practitioners and social workers - will be able to help vulnerable people such as the elderly who have no family to make decisions about their personal welfare or property.
To date, 13 individuals have signed up to be professional deputies.
The difference between a professional deputy and donee is that the former is appointed by the Family Justice Courts through a Court order for a person who has lost mental capacity. A professional donee is appointed by a person who still has mental capacity to do so.
These professional deputies and donees must not be related to the person they are appointed to act for, in order to avoid any conflict of interest.
Professional deputies and donees will be paid for their services, although there is no fee guideline as the charges will vary according to the service required, MSF said. They must submit annual reports to account for all decisions and expenses incurred.
Mr Francis Chan, who has registered to be a professional deputy, believes that fees should not be the main concern.
“The key priority is, whatever we do, we have to ensure people without mental capacity are given care that is to their best interest," he said.
Fellow registered deputy Ms Chia Yong Yong, who is also a corporate lawyer, hopes to do more for the needy.
“I hope that professional deputies or donees like myself and colleagues would be able to use our skillsets and make an impact," she said.
Members of the public can visit www.publicguardian.gov.sg/opg/Pages/About-PDD.aspx for a list of registered professional deputies and donees.