What does it mean to lose your mental capacity?

The reality in Singapore

Loss of mental capacity may be caused by dementia, stroke or mental health problems and is not necessarily associated with old age. A young person may also experience loss of mental capacity where they suffer a stroke, brain injury, or intellectual disabilities. According to the Ministry of Health, about 20,000 Singaporeans – a prevalence rate of 5.7 % – suffer from dementia. By 2020, the number of dementia patients is expected to more than double to about 45,000. As such, it is becoming more and more important to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) so that you can be prepared for the unexpected.

Defining Loss of Mental Capacity

If at a particular point in time, you are unable to make a specific decision for yourself due to an impairment of the brain, you are considered to have a loss of mental capacity.

You are considered to be unable to make a specific decision for yourself when you are unable to:

• understand the information relevant to the decision;
• retain that information;
• use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision; or
• communicate his decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means).

Loss of mental capacity can be permanent or temporary. It is possible for you to have capacity to make some decisions at a particular time, but not others. For instance, you may be able to decide what to buy at a department store, but when it comes to financial decisions, you may not be able to handle large sums of money.

For assistance on estate planning, do contact us to make an appointment.

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