Case Update: Law Society of Singapore v Sum Chong Mun [2017] SGHC 80 – Court disciplines lawyers for LPA improper witnessing

Law Society of Singapore v Sum Chong Mun [2017] SGHC 80

Significance: High Court of Three Judges reprimands two lawyers with regard to one of them signing as certificate issuer / witness of a lasting power of attorney (LPA) without actually witnessing the donor signing the document.

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Legislation Update: Amendment of Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 11/2016 was passed on 14 March 2016. The key changes are:

(1) allowing the appointment of professional donees and deputies;

(2) better protection of individuals lacking mental capacity from abuse or exploitation by donees or deputies by expanding the grounds for a court to revoke an LPA or appointment of deputy;

(3) to clarify the protection of donees, third parties who deal with donees and purchasers claiming through the third parties where donees and third parties did not know that the LPA or power under the LPA is non-existent, revoked or suspended;

(4) improve operations of the Office of the Public Guardian which oversees the Act.

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Article: Lasting Power of Attorney and Mental Capacity

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Under section 11 of the Mental Capacity Act (Cap. 177A), a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a power of attorney under which the donor confers on the donee(s) authority to make decisions about all or any of the following:

(a) the donor’s personal welfare or specified matters concerning the donor’s personal welfare;
(b) the donor’s property and affairs or specified matters concerning donor’s property and affairs,

when the donor no longer has capacity to make such decisions.

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