Lasting power of attorney can be made only online from Nov 14
Those looking to make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) will have to do so through an online government portal from Nov 14.
This digital method, aimed at making the process faster and easier, will replace the current system which involves a hard-copy form.
An LPA is a legal document that allows a person aged 21 and above to voluntarily appoint another person or multiple people to make decisions and act on their behalf if they lose their mental capacity.
Those who make LPAs are known as donors, while the people they appoint are called donees.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Saturday said hard-copy LPA forms can still be accepted in exceptional situations.
An example would be where the donor or donee does not have a Singpass account required to access the new portal, called the Office of the Public Guardian Online system.
It will cut down the processing time for an LPA from an average of three weeks to about 1½ weeks.
This excludes a mandatory three-week waiting period before an LPA is registered.
MSF said all hard-copy LPAs registered before the launch of the portal will remain valid and will be converted to electronic versions.
The donors and donees of these LPAs are expected to receive letters from MSF on the change in 2023.
The new portal follows amendments to the Mental Capacity Act passed in Parliament in July 2021 to enable LPAs to be made electronically, among other things.
The amendments are also expected to take effect on Nov 14.
The portal uses the MyInfo service - a government-backed digital vault of users' personal data - to automatically fill up most fields on an LPA form.
Donees will be notified via SMS or e-mail when the form is submitted. They can then accept the LPA through the portal.
After the donee accepts, the donor will visit the certificate issuer - a medical practitioner accredited by the public guardian, a practising lawyer or registered psychiatrist - to digitally sign the LPA via Singpass.
The issuer then certifies and submits the LPA on the donor's behalf through the portal.
MSF said it has put in place data protection measures to prevent data loss or theft, unauthorised access and undue disclosure of information.
On the requirement that a donor has to meet a certificate issuer in person, MSF said this prerequisite ensures the donor understands the LPA being made and is not induced by fraud or undue pressure to make one.
Said MSF: "The use of Singpass digital signing further eliminates risk of forgery of signatures, and prevents tampering and alteration of the digital LPA."
Members of the public can seek help on using the portal at Citizen Connect Centres at various community centres and at ServiceSG Centres around the island.
But they still have to visit a certificate issuer to complete the LPA-making process.
Online guides and instructional videos will also be available at https://msf.gov.sg/opg.
On Saturday, a demonstration of the new portal was shown to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development as well as Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua at the ServiceSG Centre at Our Tampines Hub.
He said: "Now that we have made the process... simpler, I hope that everyone can plan ahead and make LPAs for yourselves and your loved ones."