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 6557 4100.
- 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.
One Time Emergency Funding
The FJC and DBS/POSB has commenced an initiative to provide support to families of P, especially those of low-income. This initiative aims to help P and his family members to have emergency access to P’s funds while they seek other forms of help. This is especially useful in cases where P is incapacitated due to a sudden accident and his dependants require access to these funds for their daily subsistence.
Once P has consulted with a registered doctor in Singapore, and a medical report has been submitted online to FJC by the doctor, the applicant can visit any of the six selected POSB branches* located at major housing estates to file the application. The application covers a one-time authorisation to withdraw up to $5,000 from P’s DBS/POSB bank account(s) provided that P’s immediate family members have agreed and application fee is S$40.
To assist parties in need of emergency funding, the Court will prioritise such applications and process them on an expedited basis. The applicant should typically receive a response within three working days of the submission, if the application is in order. Further, once the court grants the order, the bank can be directly notified of the court order.
This initiative will be piloted with effect from 7 February 2020. Please contact the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Registry at 63257619 if you require further assistance.
* The POSB branches are located at the following areas:
- Toa Payoh Central,
- Yishun West,
- Bedok Central,
- Hougang Central,
- Tanjong Pagar, and
- Jurong Point.
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.
If you are applying for a Mental Capacity Act Order that is generally restricted to use of monies of S$60,000 and below and/or falls within those listed in Annex A of the Quick Reference Guide, you can file your application using the Simplified Track in the iFAMS system at www.ifams.gov.sg instead of the Normal Track using the e-Litigation system. One more condition is that your application must be consented by all relevant persons (who are usually the patient’s relatives such as the immediate family members or persons who are very involved in the patient’s life and welfare).
The Simplified Track process in iFAMS is set out in the Quick Reference Guide and applicants may refer to the additional user guides below:
● User Guide for General Public ( 3MB)
● User Guide for Doctors ( 925KB)
Some of the more commonly asked questions are set out below:
How do I login to iFAMS?
You need to use Singpass to login.
How much is the application fee?
The application fee is $40. This has to be paid by credit card or internet banking using eNets.
How will the Family Court contact me?
The Family Court will contact you by way of e-mail and/or mobile phone. All documents will be sent to you by e-mail.
Who do I contact for technical assistance?
You can contact the Helpdesk at 6756 3874 or firstname.lastname@example.org between 8 am and 8 pm on weekdays or 8 am and 2 pm on Saturdays (except for public holidays).
Who do I contact for the simplified MCA application enquiries?
You can contact the Family Justice Courts at 6325 7619, Mondays to Thursdays from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, and Fridays from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (except for public holidays). Closed for lunch from 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm.