Here but not present, the need for an LPA and AMD

NAV TL;DR

If you don’t have time to read through the whole article, you can check out our short version below:

You can ease the financial and emotional burden of anyone making decisions for you in the future with two essential legal documents:

Having Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you (donor) to appoint one or more persons (donee) to be your proxy decision maker when you lose mental capacity to make them on your own.

Sign an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) in advance to inform the doctor treating you that you do not want any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment (i.e life support) to be used to prolong your life when you become terminally ill or unconscious.

If life goes according to plan, we will live up to a ripe, old age in good health and of sound mind. When the time comes to bid goodbye, we will be surrounded by our near and dear ones, and leave after final words, hugs and pats on the back have been bestowed.

For many of us, the fear factor is not in death. We acknowledge we will not be around forever and hope that our passing, when it happens, will be relatively painless. What we fear is being alive but not present with our family and friends.

Losing mental capacity or being brain dead but kept alive by life support machines is a grim scenario many of us would rather not confront. And yet, to relieve the financial pressures off our loved ones and relieve them of any feelings of guilt when making difficult decisions, we must prepare in advance.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) are two tools at our disposal to make our wishes known and set certain provisions in place.

An LPA is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to appoint one or more persons (known as the donee) to be your proxy decision maker. Your donee will act and make decisions on your behalf when you lose mental capacity to make your own decisions. This could arise from suffering a head trauma, a stroke or an illness like dementia.

Without an LPA, a court order would have to be obtained for someone to be appointed as your deputy to manage your affairs. This process Is more cumbersome and costly than getting an LPA. Your LPA is only effective in Singapore. If you spend extended periods of time overseas, it would be needful to make an LPA in the other countries.

There are two forms you could use when appointing your donee:

Form 1 grants general powers with basic restrictions to the donees

Form 2 customise the powers given to the donee. A lawyer needs to be engaged to draft the wording of the powers

When the donor recovers mental capacity, the donee no longer has power to make decisions on behalf of the donor.

There are three groups of professionals who can act as LPA certificate issuers – accredited medical practitioners, lawyers, and psychiatrists. Their fees range between $24 to $80. The application fee for submitting your LPA (Form 1) to the Office of the Public Guardian has been waived until 31 August 2020. For access to the necessary forms, visit the website of the Office of the Public Guardian.

An AMD is a legal document that you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you that you do not want any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to be used to prolong your life. This applies in the event that you become terminally ill and unconscious.

According to the Ministry of Health’s website, “Modern medical technology can technically prolong life in the final stages of a terminal illness. However, it cannot stop the dying process. In such situations, further medical intervention would be medically ineffective, and a decision has to be made whether to withdraw such futile medical intervention.”

If you are aged 21 years old and above you can make an AMD. You will need:

You do not need a lawyer to make an AMD.

The benefits of making an AMD include:

  • Clarity of your wishes to your family and medical staff
  • Lifts the burden of guilt on those who would have to make the decision to take you off life support
  • Removes financial burden for costly fees of life support and medical care

Your AMD is only valid when it is registered with the Registrar of Advance Medical Directives. An acknowledgement will be sent to you when the registration is completed. Send your completed form to the Registrar of Advance Medical Directives, Ministry of Health, College of Medicine Building, 16 College Road, Singapore 169854.

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