Public in favour of proposed changes to the Mental Capacity Act: MSF

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Tuesday that it has received general public support for its proposed changes to the Mental Capacity Act.

MSF received a total of 24 responses through a public consultation conducted from Dec 7 to 28 last year. Feedback was received from individuals as well as groups such as Association of Banks in Singapore, the Law Society of Singapore and Life Insurance Association Singapore.

As more people are choosing to remain single and more elderly are living alone, the contributors were in favour of introducing professional donees and deputies for those who lack mental capacity.

However, they emphasised that these professionals should come into the picture only if family members are unwilling, unable or unavailable to act as the first line of support and care.

Some contributors also questioned if the engagement of professional donees and deputies will cause financial strain on those without mental capacity. They suggested safeguards, such as a stipulated fee structure or required appointment of at least two professional donees or deputies.

In addition, they supported the MSF's two other proposals which include revising the grounds where the court can revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney or deputyship order, and allowing the court to temporarily suspend a donee's or deputy's powers in the absence of a pending court application.

MSF added that it will consider all feedback in its review of the proposed bill, and take into account suggestions from banks and insurance companies on operational matters when implementing the amendments.

The Mental Capacity Act was enacted in 2008 to put in place a legal framework for proxy decision-making to safeguard the interests of individuals who lack mental capacity.