Standardise bank procedures for handling LPA

As our population ages, it is important that companies and organisations such as banks understand how the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) works.

My mother, who has dementia, signed an LPA in 2010. I was appointed to handle all her affairs.

A couple of months ago, I went to the POSB branch at Block 43, Holland Drive, to close her account.

I waited at the bank for about 40 minutes, as no one seemed familiar with the LPA.

Finally, I was told that the LPA was not sufficient and a letter from her doctor to certify her condition was required.

Last Friday, I went back to the bank with the LPA and letter from the doctor.

The letter had no date on it. The bank officer asked when I had received the letter. I replied that it had been a few years.

I waited for 45 minutes, only to be told that the letter was not valid.

Because the letter was not dated and was not issued within the past six months, my request to close my mother's account was rejected.

I now have to spend time getting a new letter issued and paying a third visit to the bank.

As dementia is a condition which gets progressively worse over time, why does the doctor's letter need to be dated within the last six months?

The LPA website does not set a validity period for the doctor's report that certifies that the donor has lost the capacity to manage her affairs. Why does a third-party organisation impose a different criterion?

Can there be a standard procedure for banks when dealing with the LPA, and can this information be made readily available to the public?

Can doctors issue a standard report for dementia patients?

While I fully understand the need to protect account holders, it seems that there is a lack of knowledge or proper training to ensure that front-line staff are properly equipped to answer and address these situations.

Shirin Aroozoo (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2018, with the headline 'Standardise bank procedures for handling LPA'. Print Edition | Subscribe