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SINGAPORE – Approximately 30,000 people under 50 have established Permanent Power of Attorney (LPA) since 2010, but more Singaporeans need to join in, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Eric Chua said on Tuesday, July 6.

The Department of Social and Family Development (MSF) is working with the Department of Health (MOH) to promote the importance of early planning and there are plans to launch a digital campaign as well, he added.

A permanent power of attorney is a legal document that enables a person over the age of 21 – the so-called donor – to voluntarily appoint another person – a so-called gift recipient – or multiple people to make decisions and act on their behalf when they are theirs lose mental capacity.

To get more seniors to sign an LPA, the Silver Generation Ambassadors will put them in touch with the Citizen Connect Centers – found in community centers across the island – and the Integrated Public Service Center in our Tampines Hub.

Mr Chua responded to MPs at the end of the debate on the draft law amending the intellectual abilities law in parliament on Tuesday.

In his speech, he addressed issues in five key areas raised by 19 MEPs during the two-day debate that began on Monday.

First of all, Mr. Chua said that assistance will be provided to those who need help navigating digital services. Seniors can seek help from their family members and learn how to access tools like Singpass’s multi-user SMS two-factor authentication or 2FA, he said.

In response to Ms. Hany Soh (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC), Mr. Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC), and Mr. Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC), he added that there will be description fields for legal terms in the Office of the Public Guardian Online Explain (Opgo) and instructions on how to create an LPA will also be available in the local languages.

For those who are struggling to move around or are in jail, LPA certifiers can visit to certify their LPAs, he added. Officials from the public guardian’s office can also visit the homes of people with disabilities and help them with their applications, he added.

Second, Mr. Chua responded to questions about the Opgo site. For example, he said that access to confidential information contained in the LPA will be restricted so that only donors, recipients and people with authorization can access the information.

Others must obtain the consent of the public guardian to search the LPA register.

Third, Mr. Chua addressed issues related to cybersecurity measures that have been put in place to ensure LPAs are not compromised.

He said the Opgo site will be placed on the government’s commercial cloud, which is protected by robust cybersecurity measures and data protection systems.

Fourth, there will be a number of security measures to protect donors, gift recipients and other officials, Chua said. For example, although the process goes online, important safeguards remain in place that require donors to perform the LPA in the presence of the certificate issuer. This, he said, ensures that the donor has the mental ability to do the LPA and that the recipient is the person intended by the donor.

Fifth, speaking about simplifying the process of appointing a deputy, Mr Chua said more could be done and the authorities are looking for options.

In response to concerns about costs raised by Ms. Cheryl Chan (East Coast GRC), Ms. Soh, and Mr. Tay, Mr. Chua said that there will be no additional cost to create an LPA electronically. A fee waiver for LPA Form 1, the standard form used by about 98 percent of Singaporeans, has also been extended to March 31, 2023, he added.

The government will examine whether the fees can be permanently waived, he said.

During Tuesday’s debate, Mr Don Wee (Chua Chu Kang GRC) said seniors who live alone could be cheated and called for additional safeguards for donors.

He said, “As the number of singles grows and our population ages rapidly, the number of vulnerable, and usually older, donors is likely to increase. We have had cases of opportunistic gift recipients in the past.

“There is certainly no shortage of predatory scammers eager to gain the trust of lonely elderly people in order to take advantage of them. I appeal to the ministry to consider additional measures to screen potential recipients to protect donors.”

Mr. Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC) said that gift recipients who are not family members or are no longer directly related, for example due to divorce or remarriage, can lead to potential misunderstandings or future conflicts.

“It would be useful to consider requiring certificate issuers to meet potential recipients in person, not just donors,” he said.

Mr Chua said MSF is working closely with MOH to encourage citizens to plan early and co-create the LPAs and Advance Care plans.

Advance Care Planning is a national program that aims to empower Singaporeans to choose how they want to be cared for.

Regarding Ms. Chan and Mr. Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) clarifications as to whether transactions could be based on faulty printed LPAs, Mr. Chua said that such errors are very unlikely as OPG has checked all scanned copies of existing registered LPAs to to minimize the risk of errors.

In response to suggestions from Ms. Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Mr. Zhulkarnain to consider at least one meeting between donors, gift recipients, and certificate issuers, Mr. Chua said the government is trying to strike a balance between protective measures and convenience in the process Find .

“In view of our professional and family commitments, it can be difficult for donors and recipients to agree on a time and place together. This is especially true if the recipient is abroad at the time the donor carries out the LPA so that the LPA manufacturing process is as accessible as possible, “he said.

Noting that the rate of admission of LPAs has been increasing rapidly, Mr Chua said Opgo was another step in making the LPA manufacturing process easier.

“The LPA is an important pre-planning tool to ensure peace of mind not only for us, but also for our families, as they know our wishes and can implement them when we lose our mental capacity,” he added.

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