What is Lasting Power of Attorney and what’s the hype all about?
In case you have only just learned about the LPA with all the talk about it on the news and social media, we explain it as simply as possible, with a step-by-step guide on how to apply for it and the costs involved.
If you’re thinking of how you can protect your parents and family members in their retirement, this article, along with this should give you an all-around guide.
What is the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
The LPA is a legal document signed by an individual to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf if they become mentally incapacitated.
16,279 people applied for an LPA in the first eight months of 2018, according to the Office of the Public Guardian, the agency that protects the interests of the mentally incapacitated.
This compares to only 2,373 people who signed up in 2013.
To encourage Singaporeans to apply for this to safeguard their interests, the $75 application fee waiver was extended for two more years to 31 Aug 2020, which was initially set to end in August this year.
Benefits of an LPA
- Early preparations to protect your interests should one become vulnerable one day.
- Enables you to make a personal, considered choice of a trusted proxy decision maker, who is reliable and competent to act in his or her best interests.
- Alleviates the stress and difficulties faced by loved ones who need to apply for a Deputyship order, if you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place.
What Powers Do An LPA Grant You?
The appointed person is given power to decide and act on the individuals’ behalf in two broad areas: personal welfare and/or property and affairs matters.
- Personal welfare matters – covers largely lifestyle decisions such as your place of residence or how you want to be cared for.
- Property & affairs matters – refers to the management of your bank account, finances, property and assets.
Application Process: Choosing between Form 1 and Form 2 of the LPA
LPA applicants have two forms to choose from.
Form 1 grants general powers and meets the needs of the vast majority of Singaporeans.
Form 2 accommodates special requirements and customised powers, to be drafted by a lawyer.
Steps to Apply: Form 1
Step 1: Appoint someone
Choose your donee(the person you appoint) wisely
≥21 years old
Someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf, in your best interests
Note that you can appoint more than 1 person
Property and affairs
Jointly – donees have to act together, cannot act separately
Jointly & severally – donees can make decisions together or separately. Both types of decisions are valid.
Step 2: Certificate Issuing
See an LPA certificate issuer
Critical safeguard to ensure that the donor does not make an LPA under pressure or duress
There are 3 groups of professionals who can issue an LPA certificate — (a) accredited medical practitioner, (b) lawyer*, and (c) psychiatrist
The top 10 most visited accredited medical practitioners charge fees ranging from $25 – $80, with most charging $50, for the service
Step 3: Submit your LPA
Submit your completed LPA application to OPG by post
OPG will verify your documents and accept your application for registration. If no valid objections are received in the following 6 weeks, the LPA will be registered at the end of that period.
Office of the Public Guardian20 Lengkok Bahru#04-02, Family @ Enabling VillageSingapore 159053
Steps to Apply: Form 2
|Application fee including GST|
|LPA Form 1||LPA Form 2|
|Singapore Citizens||$0 ($75 fee waived for 2 more years till 31 Aug 2020)||$200|
|Singapore Permanent Residents||$100||$250|
Application fee: $75 (waived from now till 31 Aug 2020)
Legal fees: $25-$80, with most charging $50 to issue certificates
Despite the fee waiver, Singaporeans will still have to pay fees charged by professionals engaged to witness and certify the application, such as medical practitioners, lawyers and psychiatrists. The charges depend on the complexity of each case.
The fee waiver may encourage some people, like those from lower income groups, to get their LPA done.
Payment can be made by:
- Cheque in Singapore dollars made payable to “AG/MSF”
- NETS, Credit Cards (Visa or Master) at the OPG Office
If cost is a big issue, the North East CDC has free options covered here.
The North East CDC will further subsidise low-income residents who earn a monthly income of less than $1,100.
For those earning $650 or less, preparing a will and the LPA will be free. Those earning above $650 up to $800 will have to pay $40 for a will and $25 for an LPA, while those earning above $800 up to $1,100 will have to pay $56 and $35 respectively.
What happens when an individual has not made an LPA before losing mental capability?
Individuals without a valid LPA who require one will have their loved ones apply for Deputyship, which is an even more complicated, time-consuming and costly process.
- a person the court appoints to make certain decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity
- when the person has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and therefore has no donee to make decisions on behalf
Similar in function to a donee in an LPA, the deputy has to act in the best interests of the person he makes decisions on behalf of. However, the deputy’s powers are defined by the court order under which they are appointed, or any such further orders the court may make which can affect the powers of their appointment.
A lack of an LPA, when needed, would result in a lengthy, cost-heavy deputy application process as explained here. Along with the government’s move to persuade more people to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, we too think it is a sensible move especially if you are keen on protecting your interests should you become vulnerable one day.