SINGAPORE - Singaporeans who want to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf should they become mentally incapacitated may soon be able to apply for the legal document online, through a proposed portal by the Office of Public Guardian.
This will offer greater convenience to applicants and reduce the time needed to get a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) registered.
In a statement on Wednesday (Oct 28), the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is proposing to amend the Mental Capacity Act to allow for the LPA to be registered electronically through its new system.
It is seeking public feedback on the proposed amendments from Wednesday (Oct 28) to Nov 18.
Currently, individuals have to sign and submit hardcopy documents to apply for the LPA.
With the proposed Office of the Public Guardian Online Electronic System, the time needed to register an LPA will be shortened from the current average of three weeks to eight working days.
This excludes the mandatory three-week waiting period under the law, during which a person can withdraw his application and the person appointed to act on his or her behalf can also raise objections.
There will be various safeguards in place to ensure that a person is not applying for an LPA under duress and understands what he or she is doing.
For example, he or she has to appear in person before the LPA certificate issuer, like a doctor or a lawyer, to sign the LPA.
The proposed amendments will also better protect those who have made an LPA.
For example, if there are grounds to suspect that a person was tricked or pressured into appointing a particular person to act on his behalf, the proposed amendments will allow the Public Guardian to interview the person making the LPA.
The Public Guardian may also take other actions, such as applying to court to determine if the LPA should be registered.
The new system will also offer more convenience and support for deputies through the online filing of deputy reports, said the MSF in its statement. A deputy is a person appointed by the Court to act on behalf of someone who has lost mental capacity but did not make an LPA before that.
The Office of the Public Guardian will partner various government and community agencies to assist those who may be less digitally savvy to apply for an LPA.
The public can refer to details of the amendments on the government e-consultation portal Reach, and e-mail their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org