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 Lasting Power of Attorney (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.
‘Lasting’ simply means the agent is mandated to continue making decisions for the principal especially if the latter becomes incapacitated. However, the law states that the agent should be obliged to act only in the best interest of the principal. Thus, the money and properties involved must only be used for the benefit of the principal.
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.
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.
Using a Lasting Power of Attorney
The chart below presents a generic overview of key procedures to use a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The LPA should only be used when the donor loses capacity and has been certified to be incapable of managing his own affairs. Should the donor regain his capacity again, the donee should step aside to allow the donor to manage his own affairs again. The LPA remains valid.
Criteria to make an Lasting Power of Attorney:
The requirements for making an LPA are:
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You must have the mental capacity to make the LPA
- You must not be an undischarged bankrupt.
- For the LPA to be valid, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
NB: You can, at any time when you have the mental capacity, cancel (revoke) your LPA.
You will need to do the following:
a. Complete the Lasting Power of Attorney1 (LPA OPG Form 1 or LPA OPG Form 2).
There are two versions of LPA available to cater to the different needs of individuals:
LPA-Form 1 contains mostly checkboxes for donors to grant general powers to their donees with the option to select basic conditions or restrictions to these powers. This form can be self-completed by the donors.
LPA-Form 2 contains mostly free text spaces where individuals can give specific powers to their needs. This form is to be drafted by a lawyer.
b. Bring the LPA form to a certificate issuer who must be either one of the following:
- A practising lawyer
- A psychiatrist
- An accredited medical practitioner
The certificate issuer will sign on the LPA Form as a witness for the donor, to certify that the donor understands the purpose of the LPA and the scope of the authority conferred under it, that there is no fraud or undue pressure used to induce the donor to create an LPA and nothing else that would prevent an LPA from being created.
c. If there are person(s) you wish to notify that you are registering an LPA, send to each named person the Notice to a Named Person of Intention to Apply for Registration of an instrument as a Lasting Power of Attorney (OPG Form N1).
d. Complete the LPA Application Form.
e. Book an appointment to submit the application to the Office of the Public Guardian and bring along the following documents:
Completed LPA Form
Completed LPA Application Form
NRIC of donor (original)
NRIC of donees and/or replacement donees (photocopy of front & back of NRIC)
One passport-sized photograph of each donee
f. Pay the application fee. The application fee is S$50.00 for Form 1 for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and S$200.00 for other cases and for Form 2. You may pay by cash, NETS, Credit Card (Visa or Master) or cheque in local currency made payable to the “AG/MSF”.
Who can apply to register an LPA?
The person who can apply to register an LPA can be the:
Donee or donees (if the LPA appoints them to act jointly), or
Any of the donees if the LPA appoints the donees to act jointly and severally.
Who can submit the LPA application at the Office of the Public Guardian?
The application forms and documents can be submitted by the:
Applicants mentioned above
3rd party as authorised by applicant in the application form
Submitter must produce his original NRIC to verify his identity.
To allow us to serve you better, please book an appointment with us to register your LPA.
>> View instructional video on the procedure to make an LPA.
1 Please refer to “Guide to Filling Up the Lasting Power of Attorney
Where to Find a Certificate Issuer
If you are making an LPA, Part D and Part E of the LPA Form will have to be witnessed and certified by a certificate issuer. Any one of the following can be the certificate issuer for a instrument to be registered as a Lasting Power of Attorney:
a. an accredited medical practitioner
b. a practising lawyer
Kindly note that a professional fee is payable to the certificate issuer. Please note that our Office does not prescribe the quantum of the fees charged by the certificate issuers?
More info at the Office of the Public Guardian