We refer to the letter by Ms Lim Sor Hoon to the Forum published on 17 May 2013 regarding the Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’).
The LPA is an important legal instrument with wide implications. It allows the applicant (‘donor’) to appoint another person(s) (‘donee’) to make decisions on his behalf should he lose mental capacity. For this reason, there are safeguards in place to protect the interest of applicants.
The requirement of a certificate issuer is one such safeguard to ensure that the donor understands the instrument and its implications and that no fraud or undue pressure was used to induce the donor to make the LPA. Certificate issuers can be lawyers, psychiatrists or accredited medical practitioners. As not all doctors are familiar with the LPA and the responsibilities of a certificate issuer, an online course and assessment is available for doctors to take at their convenience. Certificate issuing fees are professional fees which the Office of the Public Guardian does not prescribe.
The LPA is to be executed as a deed which has to be sealed. Otherwise, it is not enforceable against the donee if the latter subsequently reneges on his duties.
We thank Ms Lim for her suggestions. We are continually reviewing the process to see how we can make it easier to make an LPA. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the need to safeguard the integrity of the instrument.
Mr Daniel Koh
The Public Guardian
Office of the Public Guardian
Ministry of Social and Family Development