How to Plan for Mental Incapacitation

Last updated on April 20, 2010

The Singapore government foresees that as the population ages, mental illnesses will have a larger impact on society. In anticipation of the conflicts that may occur when one becomes mentally incapacitated, the Mental Capacity Act has been introduced.

Thanks to the Mental Capacity Act, anyone above the age of 21 can choose a someone, known as a donee, to make decisions for him in case he becomes mentally incapacitated. This is done through a legal document known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The LPA is not a will and does not detail the distribution of assets after the person in question has died. It simply details who will take care of welfare, and who will take care of the financial matters if the person loses his mental capacity.

The LPA is a very flexible document. Users can choose between Form 1, which gives the donee a wide range of powers and is suitable for husband and wife and Form 2, which allows for very specific distinctions. Form 2 has to be drafted by a lawyer.

The LPA has to be lodged with the Office of the Public Guardian under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. The necessary forms and other information can be found on the Office of the Public Guardian website.

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