Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA)
Recently, a nationwide campaign was launched to promote awareness on having a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Imagine what would happen if for some reason you were no longer capable of managing your finances, taxes, medical care, or other important responsibilities if you were incapacitated by an accident or a long-term illness?
The typical Power Of Attorney only allows your donee to act on your behalf when you still have your mental capacity. When you lose your mental capacity or die, the powers granted under the Power of Attorney shall be invalid or ineffective.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to authorize your donee to make healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf in the unfortunate event if you should lose your mental capacity.
You will need to specify what type of Lasting Power of Attorney you want.
A Property and Affairs LPA allows the attorney of your choice to handle your financial affair while a Personal Welfare LPA allows the donee to handle your medical care or other personal health issues.
You may assign the above two broad areas to the same donee and you may also add or give specific powers according to your needs.
Despite the popular belief, your spouse or another family member cannot automatically take over your responsibilities unless you expressly authorize them to do so in the event of your incapacitation. Securing an LPA ensures that simple decisions, such as paying the bills, as well as more complicated decisions, such as selling your home, are made according to your wishes.
Take this piece of LPA related news from MYCS for example.
When Mr Tan See Hoe’s grandfather fell sick, his family could not agree on how to handle his welfare and medical care. This led to constant arguments between family members. The fights continued when his grandfather passed away as the family could not agree on the funeral arrangements.
By planning your Lasting Power of Attorney ahead, it will help to reduce the stress and difficulties faced by your family if you should lose mental capacity.
Make sure to appoint an LPA when you are of completely sound mind because this is a requirement when you write a will. If you do not do this when you are healthy, an LPA to manage your affairs will be court appointed. In this case, you could end up with someone you do not like.
If you do not appoint an LPA and become incapacitated, your spouse or another family member will have to apply to control your assets or access your bank accounts. This is a complicated and expensive process. It can also feel like a violation of your privacy because your private matters will be in the hands of a stranger until your application is processed.
Anyone of legal age can be asked to handle your affairs. If you choose to hire an LPA, however, the LPA must be registered and it should be done sooner rather than later. Even in an emergency situation, registration can take a long time.
Accidents or long illnesses are never planned. This is why many people appoint an LPA to protect themselves and their loved ones.
It is a good idea to start appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney Singapore now to help your loved ones avoid a stressful situation later.