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: Appointment of deputies, court directions and statutory wills under the Mental Capacity Act

Potential Scenarios 

What if a person sinks into a coma or becomes mentally impaired such that he is unable to make important decisions about his property and welfare. For example, money has to be withdrawn from his bank account to pay for medical expenses?

What if an elderly person has severe dementia and suddenly makes a substantial gift of money or property, or changes his will in a way, which is incongruous with his character?

What if a child is intellectually challenged and unable to make his own decisions about his property and welfare? In some instances, banks or other third party institutions may require the parent or guardian to provide documentary proof that he or she is legally authorised to make decisions on behalf of the child regarding those matters.

This is where the Mental Capacity Act comes in.

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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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