Have any views on amendments to the Mental Capacity Act? If approved, the court may be able to appoint professionals, such as lawyers and social workers, to make decisions on behalf of a mentally incapacitated person.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is holding a public consultation, where it also wants input on the circumstances in which the court can revoke deputyship or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
A deputy is a court-appointed person who decides on behalf of someone who has lost mental capacity, while an LPA is a legal instrument to allow someone to act on a person's behalf if the latter loses mental capacity. These nominated persons are also called donees.
Thirdly, MSF wants to know the public’s view on whether to allow the court to temporarily suspend powers of a donee or deputy before anyone lodges a formal complaint of abuse.
During the public consultation, MSF will iron out the finer details of how the court could or should intervene when necessary. The proposal comes amid rising singlehood and an increasing number of elderly people living alone.
LPAs and protection for vulnerable elderly were highlighted last year after a wealthy widow was allegedly manipulated by former tour guide Yang Yin.a
Singapore Management University Professor of Law Tang Hang Wu said the amount of fees to be charged needs further thought. Family lawyer Andrew Tan Tiong Gee felt professional donees may not be as effective as family members, as they would not know a donor’s background or his attachment to various things.
Interested members of the public can log on to Reach to give their views from now till 28 Dec. They can also write in to the Family Development Group at MSF, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sources: “Amendments to Mental Capacity Act: Views sought” (The Straits Times, 8 Dec 2015); “More decision-making options mooted for mentally-incapacitated” (TODAY, 7 Dec 2015)