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Advance Care Planning (ACP) is about having conversations with loved ones in advance about your wishes and preference pertaining to how you would like to cared for medically during an emergency.

“If you own property and assets, this planning process may serve as an opportunity for you to appoint a donee through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to uphold your wishes, should you also have concerns about the wellbeing of your estate,” says Siti Mariam Bte Md Salim, Principal Medical Social Worker, Medical Social Services, Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): What it is, who is it for and when does it take effect

What is it?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you (donor) to appoint one or more persons (donees) to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to do so. Donee(s) can be appointed to act in two areas: personal welfare and/or property and affairs.

When does it take effect?

When you have lost your mental capacity to make decisions in these related areas.

Is it legally binding?

A legal advice is necessary to make an LPA. The LPA document is made under the Mental Capacity Act and Singapore Code of Practice. 

Can a Lasting Power of Attorney be changed?

You can revoke or terminate an LPA at any time by signing a revocation form and notifying the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and your donee.

For more details on LPA, visit www.publicguardian.gov.sg/opg/pages/the-lpa-the-lasting-power-of-attorney.aspx

How to begin talking about the future

Planning for when crisis strikes at a time when you and your family are in good health is never easy.

“A good way to start is by speaking to your doctor or getting advice from an ACP facilitator in the respective healthcare institution that you are being treated at,” says Siti. “Having a thorough understanding of your own medical condition will provide opportunities to bring up the topic with family members.”

You should also not be afraid to have such meaningful conversations anytime, anywhere – for example, when watching television together as a family, and suddenly, a programme featuring someone with critical illness is screened. Another instance where the topic can be initiated is after visiting or hearing about someone who has become critically ill.

“Remember, while it is difficult to start such conversations with your family, making a plan gives them assurance and peace of mind that they are fulfilling your wishes,” says Siti.

See previous page to learn about the difference between Advance Care Planning (ACP) and Advance Medical Directive (AMD).

Ref: N18