Make it easier to be deputy for mentally disabled people

Make it easier to be deputy for mentally disabled people

I agree with Mr John Yeo Kee Chiang that it is difficult to be appointed as a "deputy" for a mentally disabled person under the Mental Capacity Act ("Costly process to be appointed as deputy for mentally disabled child"; last Thursday).

The process of applying for a court order is costly and tedious.

An applicant not only has to get a lawyer to help in the court application, but also needs an accredited doctor's affidavit exhibiting a medical report on the mentally incapacitated person. The applicant also needs to name another person as successor deputy in case the first deputy loses his mental capacity or dies.

My husband and I have delayed our application to be deputies for our mentally incapacitated adult son, and have yet to apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney, mainly because of the difficulty in finding a successor deputy. We do not wish to burden our relatives and friends with the responsibility of making decisions for our son when we are no longer around.

I have asked the Special Needs Trust Company if it can be made a successor deputy, since it oversees the care plans for people who lack mental capacity after the trust accounts are activated, but it said this would be a conflict of interest.

I suggest that the Government consider setting up a corporate body to act as a deputy for people who lack mental capacity. To prevent abuse of the system, the group can limit its role to that of a successor deputy in cases where the parents are no longer able to act as deputies for their intellectually disabled children.

The Government should also simplify the application process for parents.

Betty Ho Peck Woon (Ms)

This article was first published on Sep 9, 2014.
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