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MSF Proposes Amendments To Mental Capacity Act

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Other Updates

Lasting Power of Attorney and Deputy Reports To Be Fully Online

1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is proposing to amend the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) to allow for digitalisation of the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to better serve Singaporeans, in line with the overall digital transformation of the public service. The proposed amendments will also improve convenience and support for deputies through online filing of deputy reports.

2. If the proposed amendments are passed, MSF will establish convenient touchpoints in the community to support Singaporeans who may need assistance with making their LPAs online.

3. A public consultation on the proposed amendments to the MCA will run from 28 October 2020 to 18 November 2020.

Proposed Amendments

4. The proposed amendments will allow

a. LPAs to be made and registered electronically through a new system, the Office of the Public Guardian Online electronic system (“OPGO”). LPAs made via OPGO will be an elec-tronic deed. Singaporeans will no longer need to print and submit hardcopy documents, or physically affix their wet-ink signatures and seals, which are steps currently required for hardcopy LPA deeds. With the new system, the time needed to register an LPA is expected to be reduced to an average of 8 working days (excluding the 3-week mandatory waiting period). The time taken for LPA registration under the current manual process varies, and averages 3 weeks (excluding the 3-week mandatory waiting period).

b. Deputies to file their deputy reports online through the OPGO. In addition to a step-by-step guide to assist deputies, OPGO will provide information for newly-appointed deputies to better understand their roles and responsibilities.

c. An electronic copy of an LPA to be treated as the LPA. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will keep an electronic copy of all new and existing LPAs in OPGO. Upon the donor losing mental capacity, donees may make a request to OPG for an electronic copy of the LPA to be sent to the transacting third party (e.g. a bank). This will give third parties greater confidence in transacting with donees as they will directly receive the most up-to-date electronic copy of the LPA from OPG. The proposed amendments will allow (i) all updates to an LPA to be made to the electronic copy in OPGO; and (ii) for the electronic copy to prevail in the event of any inconsistency with a hardcopy version. If the amendments are passed in Parliament, existing donors and donees need not keep a physical copy of their hardcopy LPAs if they do not wish to.

5. OPG will partner Government and community agencies to establish convenient community touchpoints which can assist those who may be less digitally savvy or need technology support. OPG is working with the People’s Association, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, and the Council for Third Age to leverage community touchpoints such as Citizen Connect Centres, the Integrated Public Service Centre at Our Tampines Hub and various events and roadshows.

Public Consultation

6. Members of the public can refer to details of the amendments on the Government e-consultation portal, REACH ( go.gov.sg/mcapublicconsultation). The accompanying infographics that detail the process of (i) making of LPA Forms 1 and 2; and (ii) filing of deputy reports online for newly-appointed deputies using the OPGO, as well as list of Likely Asked Questions (LAQs) are in the Annex.

7. Members of the public are invited to email their feedback on the proposed amendments to consultations@msf.gov.sg using the template in the Appendix. Please title all comments and feedback “Consultation on Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill 2020” and send to the above-mentioned email address.

28 OCTOBER 2020