This section deals with the procedure for making an application for the appointment of a Deputy under the Mental Capacity Act for a person who lacks mental capacity in the Family Justice Courts (FJC) with effect from 1 January 2015. The procedure in this section also applies to proceedings commenced before 1 January 2015, provided the matters are heard in the FJC. The information in this section does not cover the procedure that applies if your case is in the High Court, or had commenced before 1 April 2006.
The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The FJC cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any document.
References to legislation:
Applying for the appoint of a Deputy under the Mental Capacity Act for a person who lacks mental capacity.
- Discuss with family members on whether it is necessary to apply for a deputy to be appointed under the Mental Capacity Act for a person / family member who lacks mental capacity (P).
- Thereafter, decide who is to be the deputy and how many deputies are required.
- The application for appointment of a deputy should be filed within six months of obtaining the medical report on P.
- Decide on the care and financial plan for P.
A few questions to consider:
- Where is P going to stay?
- Who will be taking care of P?
- What are the arrangements for paying for the expenses incurred for P?
- How long can P's funds last?
- Is there a need to apply for other relevant powers for P based on P's current circumstances? (for example powers relating to transferring of funds from P’s bank account, making insurance claims for P, managing matters related to P’s house or flat, giving consent to medical treatment for P etc.).
- Consider what powers to apply for and check with various organisations on what powers they require in order for the deputy to perform certain transactions. For example, the deputy may be asked to make such an application by a financial institution for transfer of funds to/from P’s account; check with that particular institution on the relevant powers they require the deputy to have in order to perform that particular transaction and include these powers in the application.
- Consider whether to engage a lawyer or whether to file the application without one.
- A potential deputy may wish to seek for free legal advice by booking an appointment with the Community Justice Centre (CJC) by calling CJC at +65 6536 0650.
- A deputy is a court-appointed individual who is granted specific powers by the Court to make decisions for the benefit and welfare of P, as P would if P still has the mental capacity.
- Apart from taking care of P’s personal needs and financial affairs, the deputy is also required to submit an annual report to the Office of Public Guardian to explain what decisions he/she had made for P and how he/she had used P’s monies for the benefit of P.
- If a potential deputy engaged a lawyer, the lawyer will represent the potential deputy in Court and help him/her to prepare the necessary documents for the application for a fee agreed between both the potential deputy and the lawyer.
- Alternatively, the potential deputy could also go to the Legal Aid Bureau for assistance and, if he/she qualifies for legal aid, the Legal Aid Bureau will provide a lawyer for him/her. Potential deputies may contact them at 1800 2255 529 for more information.
- Most applications for appointment of a deputy are completed within 3 to 4 months.
- However, in some cases, the process may take longer, for example if the documents submitted are incomplete, or if the case is complex or if someone comes forward to object to the application.
*Potential deputies may also wish to visit the website of the Office of the Public Guardian for more information and resources on Court-Appointed Deputy.
Simplified application process
In addition to the standard application process described above, the FJC has also introduced a simplified application process for certain categories of applications.
This simplified process can be access via the FJC’s iFAMS portal at https://ifams.gov.sg.
Once you have accessed the system, if the application that you wish to file falls within the categories covered by this simplified process, you may proceed with your application.
The simplified process is as follows:
- get P's doctor doctor to file a medical report confirming that P lacks mental capacity (P’s doctor can do this via iFAMS.);
- after the medical report has been filed, the Applicant should file his/her application for appointment of a deputy for P via iFAMS);
- if there are any questions or further documents required, the Applicant will be notified via e-mail; and
- once the Court grants an Order, this Order will be sent to the Applicant via e-mail.
Development work on this new system is ongoing and more categories of applications will be added in the near future.