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MSF apologizes for oversight affecting 87,000 electronic LPAs, to introduce bill for retroactive validation

Ministry of Social and Family Development apologizes for a mistake in 87,000 electronic LPAs lacking a key statement, and will introduce a Bill to validate them retroactively and ensure legal certainty.



In a significant oversight, approximately 87,000 electronic Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) documents, certified between 14 November 2022, and 4 January 2024, have been identified as lacking a crucial statement, potentially exposing them to legal challenges.

Despite this omission, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has assured that these documents remain legally valid.

The lapse pertains to the documents’ failure to include a statement explicitly indicating their intent to be considered as deeds, a requirement under the current Mental Capacity Act.

To mitigate potential legal disputes arising from this oversight, MSF announced on Wednesday (6 Mar) the introduction of a Bill aimed at retroactively validating the affected LPAs, thereby solidifying their legal standing.

LPAs are critical legal instruments allowing individuals to appoint others to make key medical and financial decisions on their behalf, should they become incapacitated.

The issue came to light after feedback from the public prompted a review by MSF, uncovering that the electronic documents did not conform to specific provisions of the Mental Capacity Act due to an error during the development of the Office of the Public Guardian Online system.

In response to the discovery, MSF has expressed regret for the mistake and has taken steps to ensure no further action is required by the public or those who have made electronic LPAs within the specified period. The Ministry stressed that LPAs executed via hardcopy are unaffected by this oversight.

The transition to a digital application process for LPAs, initiated on 14 November 2022, aimed to streamline and simplify the procedure. However, the error in omitting the required deed statement during the system’s development phase has led to this unforeseen complication.

MSF’s swift response to rectify the situation includes updating the electronic LPA template to include the necessary statement, ensuring that all LPAs certified from January 5, 2024, onwards are fully compliant.

The Ministry also reassured that decisions made by appointed individuals, or donees, during the affected timeframe remain legally binding, as other aspects of the Mental Capacity Act provide legal protection for actions taken in good faith.

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