On 1 September 2018, the Professional Deputies/Donees Scheme came into force. This scheme allows registered professionals to be appointed to act on the behalf of individuals who have lost mental capacity.
Individuals are able to plan for their future by appointing a Professional Donee to act on their behalf prior to losing their mental capacity. Families and close associates of a person who has lost mental capacity can also seek to appoint a Professional Deputy for their loved one’s affairs to be managed professionally.
Our Mr. Liaw Jin Poh is among the pioneer batch of professionals who have sat for the Professional Deputies/Donees certification course and fulfilled the registration criteria, and is, with effect from 21 September 2018, able to act as a Professional Deputy/Donee in respect of the property and affairs of a person lacking capacity.
A Professional Deputy/Donee must be unrelated to the person lacking capacity (“P”) and can provide deputy-ship services for remuneration.
A Professional Deputy/ Donee can be appointed to make key decisions affecting P’s property and affairs (including their personal welfare). For example, they can manage P’s finances, and maybe even the sale and purchase of immovable and movable assets, to make sure that there is enough monies to meet P’s needs.
The overriding principle is that the Professional Deputy/ Donee must act in P’s best interest. A Professional Deputy/Donee is bound to ensure that the decisions made are reasonable, prudent and in the interests of P, i.e for the benefit of P and not for anyone else.
However, if P is able to make certain decisions for themselves, the Professional Deputy/ Donee will not get involved in those decisions.
A Professional Deputy can be appointed by the Court to act for P after P has already lost mental capacity. They may be approached by the family members/ other caregivers of P to act for P.
Under this scheme, if the family or other close associates of P are unable to take care of P, the Professional Deputy can step in to manage P’s affairs instead.
On the other hand, a Professional Donee would have been appointed by P before P lost mental capacity in a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Under this scheme, individuals can plan ahead by appointing a Professional Donee to act on their behalf if they lose mental capacity. This scheme is aimed to help individuals who may not have family members or close friends to rely on to be their proxy decision makers, such as elderly singles or childless elderly couples.