87,000 durable powers of attorney will have their validation retroactively after a finding of omission of statement

The discovery of a necessary statement’s omission will result in the retroactive validation of some 87,000 lasting power of attorney (LPA) documents. The Mental Capacity Act mandates that LPAs make it very evident on the front of the document that it is meant to be a donor deed. An LPA is a legal instrument that enables a person to name a reliable representative to act on their behalf and make decisions in the event that they are rendered mentally incapable. Donors are those who create LPAs, while donees are the individuals they designate.


The Mental Capacity Act was not followed by almost 87,000 LPAs that were electronically certified between November 14, 2022, and January 4, 2024, according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on March 6. This is because the LPAs did not explicitly declare that they are a deed. In a statement, the ministry expressed regret for the omission made by one of its departments, the Office of the Public Guardian. Approximately 5,400 LPAs certified in hard form during this period remained unaffected. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Eric Chua proposed changes to the Act in Parliament on March 6 in order to retrospectively validate the impacted LPAs. MSF promised to do this as quickly as possible to allay any doubts regarding their veracity. It also stated that the public is not needed to take any action and that those who are impacted are not required to remake their LPAs.


In response to questions from The Straits Times, MSF stated that even if the language was omitted, the decisions taken by donees throughout the impacted time period are legally lawful. This is because, as it was mentioned, the Mental Capacity Act provides donees and other third parties who depend on the registered LPA with legal protection if they are not aware of any flaws that could make the form illegal. October 2023 saw the discovery that the statement had been missing from electronic LPAs. On November 14, 2022, the Office of Public Guardian Online system went live, making electronic LPAs accessible. The impacted LPAs did not explicitly say that an LPA is a deed, but they did describe the importance and impact of an LPA.




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