Worried About Getting Dementia? Here's The Ultimate Guide To Making A Lasting Power Of Attorney To Safeguard Your Future!

Worried About Getting Dementia? Here's The Ultimate Guide To Making A Lasting Power Of Attorney To Safeguard Your Future!

Jacqueline Yan

The worry is real, guys!

In Singapore alone, 1 in 10 individuals aged 60 and above has dementia.

Not shocking enough?

lady drops phone in shock
Source: giphy

Half of those above the age of 85 are diagnosed with dementia.

Wait, before you dismiss it since it won’t affect you until you’re way older.

Early-onset dementia statistics have been on the rise, affecting 4,000 individuals below age 55 as of 2016.

Have I gotten your attention yet?

If you want to safeguard your future in case you lose your mental capacity, you might want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

TL;DR – Ultimate Guide To Lasting Power Of Attorney

Similar in some aspects to making a will, an LPA takes care of your needs if you lose mental capacity by appointing donees to make decisions on your behalf.

ultimate guide to lasting power of attorney

You’re the best person to decide who you can trust as your donees, so once you’ve thought about it, the application process doesn’t take too much time!

  1. Decide between LPA Form 1 (for standard applications) or LPA Form 2 (for customised instructions)
  2. Appoint donees & allocate if they take care of your personal welfare, property and affairs or both
  3. Obtain your LPA certificate from the accredited professionals
  4. Mail your LPA application to Office of the Public Guardian

Wonderful news! Sorry, to Singapore Citizens only…

The Form 1 application fees for Singapore Citizens are waived until 1 August 2020!

 LPA Form 1 Fee
(Incl. GST)
LPA Form 2 Fee
(Incl. GST)
Singapore Citizens$0
(Application fee of $75 waived until 31 August 2020)
Singapore Permanent Residents$100$250

Of course, you’ll need to pay for your LPA certificate too, and the fees range from $25 – $80.

Once activated upon certification of your mental state, your donees can then share your softcopy LPA to the necessary organisations when acting on your behalf.

What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney?

Big words, don’t worry, we’ll make this easy to understand.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a tiny bit like a will, just that it takes care of YOU while you are still, well, alive!

document getting stamped approved
Source: tenor

It’s a legal document that will be taken into effect in the event that you lose your mental capacity. 

As the person making the LPA, you are the donor and you can appoint one or more persons to be your donee(s).

When the unfortunate happens, they will step in to act and make decisions on your behalf, with regards to your personal welfare, and property and affairs.

Can I Make A Lasting Power Of Attorney?

Given that the LPA is meant to protect your needs, there are only a few criteria you need to meet.

cartoon boy taking notes with clipboard
Source: tenor

You’ll first have to be at least 21 years old before you can make the application and at the point of your application, you must have the mental capacity to do so.

If you are applying your LPA with property and affairs matters in mind, you can only do so if you’re not an undischarged bankrupt. 

Why Should I Make One?

One of the reasons why we put so much emphasis on sufficient insurance coverage is because we acknowledge that we will never be able to foresee what might happen to us in the future.

There are a few conditions that can cause a lack of mental capacity in healthy individuals, with a few common ones such as stroke, brain injury or dementia.

Singapore Stroke Registry Report 2017
Source: National Registry of Diseases Office

While the numbers may not be super startling, stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability.

And I’ve already shown you the statistics for dementia earlier, so you get the gist.

While we hope that it doesn’t happen, there is a chance that you might encounter a lack of mental capacity in the future, and as always, it’s good to be prepared. 

In the event that you lose your mental capacity and you did not make an LPA, your loved ones will have to apply to be your deputies.

Applying to be a deputy will take up your loved ones’ time and money, as doctor’s reports and other legal requirements will be necessary.

Therefore, making an LPA beforehand can help your loved ones’ dedicated their efforts in taking care of you.

One more consideration, which I feel is very valid for Seedly readers, is that YOU get to choose who’s handling your assets.

Even though we hope that all our loved ones are as financially literate as we will be, it’s not necessarily always the case.

So, while we trust our loved ones to take care of our personal welfare as deputies, some of them may not be the best when it comes to handling our assets.

What About Children With Intellectual Disabilities? 

Unfortunately, parents are not able to make an LPA on behalf of their children with intellectual disabilities.

judge saying your honor
Source: giphy

However, they are able to apply to appoint deputies for their children if they are still lacking mental capacity after they are 21 years old.

In the event that they are no longer around or are not able to make decisions for their child anymore, parents of children with intellectual disabilities can also appoint successor deputies to ensure that their children are taken care of.

How Do I Make A Lasting Power Of Attorney?

Just like making a will online, if you’ve made the necessary considerations and obtained the relevant documents, it’ll only take you 10 minutes to complete the online application form with all of your donees and witnesses present.

Step 1: Deciding Between LPA Form 1 & LPA Form 2

cookie monster choosing between cookie and fruits
Source: giphy

The main difference between the two types of LPA lies in the power you wish to grant your donees.

LPA Form 1

The majority of us are likely to use the standard version, which is Form 1, to grant general and wide powers to your donees with the regular restrictions.

Basic conditions and restrictions are listed in the form as checkboxes and the form can be completed on your own.

LPA Form 2

However, if you plan to grant customised powers to your donees, you should use Form 2 instead.

It includes free text spaces and you’ll need to engage a lawyer to draft Form 2.

Typically, it may not be recommended to have too many donees as it might hinder the decision process when too many people are involved. However, if you need to make more than 2 donees, you will be recommended to use LPA Form 2.

Step 2: Appointing Donees & Their Powers

Be sure to choose your donees wisely, they should be individuals you trust and competent to make decisions on your behalf.

kuzco choosing girls
Source: tenor

They will also be required to act in your best interests, along with upholding the Code of Practice under the Mental Capacity Act (Chapter 177A).

Considerations When Appointing Donees
Donee(s) & Replacement DoneeTrusted family members, friends
(Above age 21)
Professional donees
Decision PowersPersonal Welfare only
- Make decisions relating to matters, such as where the donor should stay and the donor's daily activities
Conditions of Power
If authority is granted:
- Give or refuse consent to carrying out or continuation of treatment, including the conduct of a clinical trial, by a person providing health care for the donor
Property and Affairs only
- Make decisions relating to financial matters, such as managing the donor's bank account and property
- Sell, transfer, convey, mortgage or change the donor's residential property without approval of court
Conditions of Power
If authority is granted:
- Sell, transfer, convey, mortgage or change the donor's residential property without approval of the court
- Dispose of property by making gifts of cash on the donor's behalf
Both Personal Welfare & Property and Affairs
Donee's Manner of Acting Jointly
- Donees must act together
Jointly & Severally
- Donees can make decisions together or separately

Do note that similarly, your donee cannot be in charge of your property and affairs decisions if they happen to be an undischarged bankrupt, but they can still take care of matters regarding your personal welfare.

When making your LPA application, the Office of Public Guardian will also prompt you to consider appointing a replacement donee in case the original donees are no longer able to carry out their duties.

Step 3: LPA Certificate Issuing

Since an LPA is a legal document, it is important to ensure that you have the mental capacity to make the application and that you’re making it voluntarily, without any pressure or duress from others.

cartoon harley quinn showing sane certificate
Source: tenor

Furthermore, they also need to ensure that you understand you fully understand the purpose of your LPA and the roles of your donees.

So, you’ll need to obtain an LPA certificate from either of the following professionals:

Step 4: Submit the LPA Application

Erm, you’d think that everything can be done online since there are things like SingPass and MyInfo.

But since you still need your LPA issuer to certify and signatures still need to be made, you’ll need to print out the application form and mail the hardcopy to the Office of the Public Guardian.

guy licking envelope
Source: giphy

Please don’t forget to mail it out after the form is completed as the application should be submitted within 6 months of the donor’s signatory date.

Applications submitted after 1 August 2019 are subject to a mandatory waiting period of 3 weeks before it will be registered.

A softcopy LPA will then be made available when you log in on the Office of the Public Guardian’s website using your SingPass.

Office of the Public Guardian: 20 Lengkok Bahru, #04-02, Family @ Enabling Village, Singapore 159053

How Much Do I Need To Pay?

LPA Application

Good news, everyone!

OPG has extended its waiver of LPA Form 1 fees for Singapore Citizens until 31 August 2020, so it’s free, for now!

 LPA Form 1 Fee
(Incl. GST)
LPA Form 2 Fee
(Incl. GST)
Singapore Citizens$0
(Application fee of $75 waived until 31 August 2020)
Singapore Permanent Residents$100$250

Well, don’t forget that applying the LPA Form 2 requires the engagement of a lawyer so their individual fees apply as well!

LPA Certificate

The fees for each LPA certificate issuer will vary as it depends on the complexity to certify you and your donees.

OPG has compiled a list of the most common accredited medical practitioner and found that their fees range from $25 – $80, with a median fee of $50.

How Does My Donee Use My Lasting Power Of Attorney?

Again, since the LPA is designed to protect your interests in the event that you lack mental capacity, it should only be used when you have been certified by the doctor to be incapable of taking care of your own affairs.

Therefore, a medical report certifying the condition of your mental health will be required to activate your LPA.

Sharing LPA As A Donor

As a donor, you are able to share your softcopy LPA with any individual you trust through the OPG e-service portal.

Sharing LPA As A Donee

Once activated, your donees will then be able to use your LPA when acting on your behalf.

As different organisations have different requirements in verifying LPAs, your donees should contact them to clarify the necessary documents apart from your LPA.

Using the LPA to transact with third parties
Source: Office of the Public Guardian

Your donees will have to do a quick two-step declaration prior to the first sharing of your LPA to confirm that you are lacking mental capacity and that they are not providing false information.

When necessary, your donee will then share the softcopy LPA through the OPG e-service portal to the email addresses of the organisations to ensure that the latest version is made available.

According to OPG, a large percentage of Singaporeans have made their LPA.

Will you be making yours soon to safeguard yourself in the future?

About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
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