Some 33,360 people have appointed someone to make decisions on their behalf if they become mentally incapacitated, through a legal document called the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), since the scheme began in 2010 until August this year.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which protects the interests of those who lack mental capacity, is encouraging more Singaporeans to do an LPA for peace of mind.
Making an LPA is easy, convenient and affordable, it said. Noted its spokesman: "Family members of a person who has lost mental capacity may not automatically be given the right to make decisions on the person's behalf or have access to his money (if there is no LPA)."
If one loses his mental capacity without making an LPA, his family members would have to apply to the court for the right to make decisions on his behalf. This is a lot more tedious and costly, lawyers say.
Lawyer Ng Bin Hong, of Peter Low and Choo law firm, said: "The benefit of an LPA is that it is very convenient and cost-efficient and you get to choose who to take care of you."
The OPG spokesman said the cost of applying to the court to be a deputy ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, as it includes lawyers' and court fees, among other costs.
Application fee for Singaporeans making an LPA. The OPG has waived the fee for Singaporeans making an LPA using Form 1 until August next year.
In contrast, the OPG has waived the $75 application fee for Singaporeans making an LPA using Form 1 until August next year.
Form 1 can be filled in by the applicant himself, while a part of Form 2 has to be drafted by a lawyer. Some 98 per cent of Singaporeans who made an LPA used Form 1.
The only fees applicants pay is to accredited professionals - either doctors, psychiatrists or lawyers - to certify they have the mental capacity to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf.
This is to ensure no one is making an LPA under duress or pressure.
The 10 most popular accredited medical practitioners charge between $25 and $80, said the OPG.
To find out more about an LPA, the public can call the OPG on 1800-226-6222 or visit its website at www.publicguardian.gov.sg