As our society progresses, I find that most of us have clearer perspectives on death and what we want when it happens. It isn’t pleasant to discuss but at least among those around me, we’re generally comfortable discussing what to do in the event of our death and where the finances for our funeral costs should come from, right down to who executes our will.

However, what we rarely talk about is what happens if we become unable to make decisions independently, which could be the case with dementia or severe disability.

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is an option you should undertake while you can – and here are some reasons why you should set it up while you’re capable of doing so.



What is an LPA?

Before jumping into why it’s needed, we need to know what an LPA is.



A recent survey1 of 1,000 Singaporeans (aged 30 to 79) found that most aren’t aware of an LPA, and respondents also felt they’re healthy enough for this to be a low-priority matter.


In the face of mental illness, stroke, dementia or a coma, we’ll be dependent on someone else to make decisions on our behalf. To complicate matters, legal disputes can arise as to who would be the best candidate to execute these decisions – all of which could be avoided by having an LPA in place.

Although they’re both legally-binding documents, an LPA shouldn’t be confused with a will – which deals with the distribution of your assets or any other decisions that only come into effect upon your death.


An LPA allows you (the Donor) to appoint another (a Donee) to oversee matters while you’re alive but no longer able to make decisions due to diminished or total loss of your mental faculties. An LPA is dissolved upon your death, which is also when a will becomes effective.


An appointed Donee generally oversees two areas:

Personal welfare

  • Where you live (medical care facility, with a loved one, etc)
  • Daily arrangements (what you wear, eat or do day-to-day)
  • Handling your mail
  • Who has contact with you
  • Any healthcare treatment or medical assistance you need


Property and assets

  • Decisions relating to your property (selling, buying, renting)
  • Handling your bank accounts or investments
  • Managing your CPF (transactions or withdrawing funds)
  • Household expenditure (groceries, medication, bills)
  • Monetary decisions on your behalf


What does a Donee oversee?

Why you should make an LPA while you can

1. Protecting the Donor – that’s you!

While becoming handicapped or mentally incapacitated would be devastating, it’s important to ask yourself who you’d consider reliable enough to make decisions that are in your best interests if you were in a such a situation. Or, if we flip the script, would you like to be in charge of your loved one’s needs and personal matters if something unfortunate happened to them?


This person could be a parent, a spouse or one of your adult children, or perhaps even a friend. You’d made this decision with the confidence that you’d be in safe hands, and they’d carry out your wishes to the letter.

An LPA must be2:

  • made by someone aged 21 or above who is not an undischarged bankrupt and has the mental capacity to understand what he/she is doing
  • prepared using prescribed forms (more below); and
  • registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before mental capacity is lost.


If you’d like to know more about safeguarding your future, read all about the financial milestones to target through your 30s.

What is the difference between the LPA Form 1 and Form 2?

If you’re appointing a Donee online through MyLegacy, you will need to fill in Form 1.


This allows the Donor to choose to give the Donee general powers with regards to decisions relating to care (i.e., living arrangements as well as discussions with CPF, banks or handling any property sales.

If you wish to appoint more than two Donees or give your Donees more specific instructions, you’ll need to consult a lawyer to help you with Form 2, which generally concerns more complex arrangements outside of the scope of Form 1.



2. Protecting your freedom to choose

Protecting ourselves is important, which is why the freedom of choice is something we should exercise while we can.


An LPA reflects your preferences when it comes to who to have these conversations with if you’re no longer able to. After all, no one wants to be left in the care of someone they didn’t nominate, or worse, may not have their best interests at heart.

It’s possible that some time after appointing a Donee, you realise that you require more than one Donee or you wish to appoint a new Donee to replace the original – I'll talk more about this in Part 2 of this series.



3. Protecting your loved ones

While appointing a Donee is largely about ensuring you’re looked after, it is also about safeguarding your loved ones.



Not enforcing an LPA could mean that your family would have to go through a tedious court process – an undoubtedly time-consuming and unnecessary expense – just to be able to execute decisions for you. A recent news report3 described how a family member spent six months and S$7,000 in court fees for the right to care for a sister with dementia - time and money which could’ve been saved if an LPA was made prior.

During a time where your loved ones would already be coping with making sure you’re cared for, having an LPA in place shields them from further stress which could stem from making difficult healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf or dealing with conflicting views within the family.



4. Protecting our timeline of care


If the unfortunate were to happen, you’d want to receive the care you need without delay.


Setting up an LPA means a shorter wait time in more ways than one. Your Donee will not need to wait for any pending court orders to execute medical decisions for you, and insurance payout decisions can also be concluded in a timely manner4.
For example, if an individual were to be certified severely disabled due to dementia and hence qualifies for monthly payouts under CareShield Life and/or a private supplement plan, a Donee could immediately make the decision to use the payout to cover the cost of hiring a domestic helper, which might in turn mean that family members don’t have to fork out their own money to get the patient the care they require at a vulnerable time in their life.


To read more about long-term care and how your CareShield Life coverage can help in the event of severe disability, read our article here.



A quick recap

Now that I've given you a clearer view on how crucial it is to have a Donee during unexpected situations, you may also have other questions relating to appointing one.


What happens if you change your mind about who you’ve appointed? Can you change your Donee and how do you do it? What if your LPA left out touchpoints relating to the duty of care which you’d now like to include?


I’ll cover these in Part 2, so stay tuned for more.




1. Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings. Extracted with permission. “Free LPA certification under new campaign to promote better pre-planning”, 22 July 2023.

2. Source: Singapore Legal Advice, “6 Reasons to Make Your Lasting Power of Attorney While You Still Can”, 14 January, 2019.

3. Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings. Extracted with permission. “Free LPA certification under new campaign to promote better pre-planning”, accessed 11 August 2023.

4. Source: PKWA Law Practice LLC, “Lasting Power of Attorney”, accessed 20 August, 2023.

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