Dr Goh Jia Jun, Principal Resident Physician, Neurosurgery, NNI, explains what a Lasting Power of Attorney is and why it is so important.
Which family member or friend would you trust to manage your finances and make decisions for you, should you lack the mental capacity to do so?
This is an important question for people to consider if they have recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia, Parkinson's disease or a brain tumour. However, even fit and healthy adults should make time to think this through and take steps to protect their choices.
"Accidents that result in traumatic brain injury are sudden events that can happen to anyone at any age, including young adults in the prime of their lives. Such injuries can affect a person's ability to make decisions, resulting in them having to rely on others to be their proxy decision maker", says Dr Goh Jia Jun, Principal Resident
Physician, Neurosurgery, NNI.
Appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the only way to ensure your choice of an alternate decision-maker is respected, but it must be done while you have the mental capacity to make decisions.
An LPA is a legal document that names who can make decisions on your behalf, should you lose the mental capacity to manage your own affairs. Your nominated
person or persons are known as "donees" and will be responsible for handling one or both of these matters for you:
Personal welfare, including:
- Your medical care
- Where you live and with whom
- Practical daily choices, e.g. what you eat and wear
- Your social activities
Property and affairs, including your:
- Bank accounts
- CPF accounts
- Income and dividends
- Home e.g. buying, selling, renting, home loan
The donee is not given your property and assets; however they can use them to act in your best interests. For example, they can access your bank accounts and use your money to pay for your medical bills or hire a helper to take care of you. So, it is important to nominate someone you trust to be your donee