Life is fragile. You may be well and alive today, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make preparations for what should happen if anything untoward happens.
Making a will is one of the first things you should do, no matter how rich or poor you might be.
The second thing to consider is making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a legal document that enables you to legally appoint one or more persons to make decisions or act on your behalf should you someday lose mental capacity.
Of course, that does not mean the person can make decisions in every area of your life. The two areas in which your appointed persons can make decisions or act are:
- Personal welfare, and
- Property and affairs
You can choose whether your appointed persons can make decisions and act in one of the above areas, or both. Or you can choose different people for each area.
If you have more than one appointed person making decisions for you in one or both areas, you can decide if they need to decide and act jointly (ie. both must agree), or whether they can decide and act together or separately as they wish.
So, assuming you one day lose your mental capacity, your appointed persons can make decisions about the caregivers who will look after you. They can also help to manage your assets.
Appointing people you trust can help you avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous opportunists should you one day no longer be able to make your own decisions.
How much does it cost to make an LPA?
Making an LPA is free for now! Well, sort of.
To encourage Singaporeans to make an LPA, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has decided to extend the $75 LPA application fee waiver until 31 August 2020.
However, you still have to get someone (an accredited medical practitioner, lawyer or psychiatrist) to issue an LPA certificate with your application. They typically charge $25 to $80, with the standard fee being around $50. You can get around this if you have a friend or relative in one of the above professions who’s willing to do it for free.
Once you have filled in LPA Form 1 and obtained an LPA certificate, you can then submit your completed LPA application to the OPG by post.
Why is an LPA important?
Should you someday lose your mental capacity, you will be at the mercy of the people around you.
Making an LPA ensures that only people you trust will have the right to make decisions pertaining to your welfare and assets.
Without an LPA, a scheming relative has a higher chance of getting their hands on your assets. A family member who’s never liked you might be able to make decisions that are negative to your welfare.
The most important part about making an LPA is choosing the people whom you wish to appoint. These should be people whom you can trust, who care about you and who have your best interests at heart.
Where to download LPA Forms to apply?
To make an LPA, you will need to fill up and submit LPA Form 1.
Submit it together with your completed application form, the NRIC photocopies (front and back) of the donor and donee(s) within 6 months from the date the donor signs the instrument with the signature. Particulars of witnesses must be filled in.
Use this checklist to ensure that you got everything in order.
Thinking about making a Lasting Power of Attorney? Leave your questions in the comments!
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