Standard procedures in place for banks on LPA activation

We thank Ms Shirin Aroozoo for her feedback on the incident involving her mother's Lasting Power of Attorney (Standardise bank procedures for handling LPA; Jan 1).

The Mental Capacity Act allows an individual (known as "donor") to plan ahead by signing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to appoint one or more trusted persons (known as "donees") to make decisions on his behalf, in the event he loses mental capacity.

We understand that POSB has been in touch with Ms Aroozoo to apologise and address her concerns. The bank has clarified its requirements in activating an LPA.

The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has standard procedures to guide banks when an LPA is activated.

When a donee approaches a bank to activate the LPA to operate or close bank accounts on behalf of the donors, they need to present the original LPA document, an identity document such as the NRIC, and a medical certificate from a registered doctor certifying the donor's mental capacity condition.

On their first visit to the bank, donees should present a current medical report dated within the last six months. For permanent conditions, the last medical report stating the permanent lack of mental capacity condition will be sufficient.

Upon receiving these documents, the bank will check with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to ascertain the validity of the LPA.

Different banks may also have their own further internal checks and controls, depending on the complexity of the transactions.

Hence, they may request other specific information to discharge their fiduciary duties.

To facilitate common assessment by medical practitioners and acceptance by third-party organisations, the OPG, in consultation with various stakeholders, has also developed a standardised medical report template for activation of the LPA.

This is available on the OPG website. The template has been made available on the OPG website since August last year, and the ABS has been kept informed.

The ABS will continue to make a concerted effort to ensure a pleasant banking experience on LPA matters for customers, including wider communication and improved staff training.

Ong-Ang Ai Boon (Mrs)

Director

The Association of Banks in Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2018, with the headline 'Standard procedures in place for banks on LPA activation'. Print Edition | Subscribe