Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between a professional deputy and professional donee?
A professional deputy is appointed by the Family Justice Courts through a Court order for a person who has lost mental capacity, whereas a professional donee is appointed in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) by a donor who still has mental capacity.
Professional deputies and donees must not be related to the person whom they are appointed to act for.
2. What are the criteria for registering as a professional deputy?
Apart from passing the certification course, professionals must meet additional criteria, which includes:
- Relevant experience with mental capacity cases, or a continuous period of at least five years of
experience in their respective fields of work.
- No financial embarrassment (e.g. not undischarged bankrupt and must have a good credit rating)
- Not be convicted of certain criminal offences such as crimes against a person or public order, or be the
subject of a civil judgement involving breach of fiduciary duties.
The full list of criteria can be found on the course registration page (click here).
3. How much will professional deputies charge for their services?
For professional deputies, the Court will determine if the proposed quantum of fees charged is reasonable.
For professional donees, as they are appointed by the donor when he has mental caapcity to decide who he wishes to appoint, the fees would be charged according to a private arrangement between the professional donee and the donor. The donor decides how much he wants to pay the professional donee for the services.
4. When and how can members of the public engage professional deputies to be their donees?
When the scheme is rolled out by the end of 2018, a list of registered professional deputies will be published on the OPG website so that members of the public can approach their preferred professional to enquire about their services.
5. What safeguards are in place to ensure that professional deputies act in the best interests of the person who has lost mental capacity and do not charge excessively for their services?
As part of the deputyship application, professional deputies would have to submit a schedule of the tasks they intend to carry out for the person who has lost mental capacity and the fees to be charged for each task. The Court would determine whether the fees are reasonable before granting the court order.
Professional deputies are required to submit an annual report to the Public Guardian (PG) to account for all decisions and expenses incurred on behalf of the person who has lost mental capacity.
Under the registration framework for professional deputies, PG has the ability to cancel the registration of a professional deputy if certain events, such as bankruptcy, occurs.
6. How does the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) ensure that the professional donees act in the best interests of persons who have lost mental capacity?
To safeguard the interests of the vulnerable, OPG conducts investigations into alleged violations of provisions under the Mental Capacity Act. This includes complaints about the way in which donees and deputies are exercising their powers.
OPG takes all complaints seriously, and will investigate further and take action against any donee or deputy who is found not to have acted in the best intersts of the person who has lost mental capacity.
7. What other services are there to support such seniors with little or no family support?
MSF continues to support efforts for seniors to age in place at home and in the community, and will readily step in to ensure that the best interests of seniors are protected.
The Community Kin service was announced in November 2017 to enable Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) to do more to support seniors with declining mental capacity and do not have family support. Under the Community Kin service, VWOs can apply for a Court order allowing them to manage some of their clients' finances and administer payment to service providers who meet their client's daily healthcare and household needs.