Is it a good thing when family members fight to take care of you?

(Source: ST, 26/06/2022)

In the event when a person becomes mentally incapacitated, the assets will be maintained just as it were prior to the occurrence of the mental incapacitation. The family members cannot assume they have inherited the rights or duty to help us to make conscious decision for us on how to manage our assets when one became mentally incapacitated. All movable and immovable assets shall remain in the ownership of the mentally incapacitated and that means all assets are ‘frozen’. Do note an institution has the rights to reject you from making any transactions or withdraw your own money if they have doubt about your mental capacity to act. What this means is having a joint-account will not necessarily make things easier.

Under such situation, e.g. stroke, coma or dementia, two scenarios might happen.
1) Family members distancing themselves to take care of the person
2) Family members rushing forward to take care of the person.

We all know it is a sad situation when everyone distance themselves but that doesn’t mean it will make things easier if everyone is willing to take care of the person. If there is no LPA in place and assuming one of the family members is willing to step forward to take care of the mentally incapacitated, he needs to serve an application to the Court and gets permission to manage the person’s personal and financial welfare. The Court may reject the application if this person is found to be unsuitable. In the case of this article where many are fighting to take care of the dementia patient, it will be contested who is the most suitable and assets are frozen till that is sorted out.

The following are the specified matters to which a Deputy/Deputies to make decisions on P’s (‘P’ is the person who is mentally incapacitated) behalf in relation to one or more of the following matters:

(a) To consent to medical treatment for P;

(b) To consent to dental treatment for P.

(c) To decide where and with whom P is to live;

(d) To decide on care services for P;

(e) To decide on travelling arrangements for P;

(f) To open a bank account for P;

(g) To close P’s bank account;

(h) To place P’s money in fixed deposit accounts in P’s bank;

(i) To terminate GIRO arrangements linked to P’s bank account;

(j) To cancel P’s credit cards;

(k) To pay P’s debts;

(l) To rent out P’s property;

(m) To decide on upgrading or renovation of P’s property;

(n) To lodge a Notice of Death in respect of P’s property;

(o) To apply for a replacement Certificate of Title in respect of P’s property;

(p) To purchase insurance policies for P;

(q) To place P’s monies in a trust for P;

(r) To apply to and/or communicate with and/or make agreements with any Government agency or agency or entity designated by the Government to administer the matter in question on behalf of P to the extent to which P would have been able to if P had mental capacity, and to receive monies paid to P by any government agency or agency or entity designated by the government in relation to the aforesaid;

(s) To obtain information relating to P;

(t) To decide and act for P in relation to Central Provident Fund matters;

(u) To receive monies paid to P on a regular basis by the Central Provident Fund Board;

(v) To enter into contracts for P;

(w) To conduct legal proceedings in P’s name or on P’s behalf;

(x) Provided that the total amount received is no more than $80,000, to do one or more of the following:

(i) To withdraw monies from P’s bank account;

(ii) To surrender, claim, receive and/or administer P’s insurance monies;

(iii) To sell P’s shares;

(iv) To sell P’s motor vehicle.

(y) To receive up to $60,000 of P’s monies from the Central Provident Fund Board in addition to monies paid to P on a regular basis by the Central Provident Fund Board.

(Source: Family Justice Court)

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