Before 1 March 2010, if your relative were become mentally incapable of taking care of his (or her) own affairs, you would apply for the Appointment of a Committee.
From 1 March 2010 onward, in such a situation, you would apply for the Appointment of a Deputy.
Although there are some similarities between these two processes, there are a lot more differences and these differences are significant.
The differences include the following:
- Before, there was no public authority specifically put in charge of supervising Committees appointed for mentally incapable persons. Now, the Office of the Public Guardian has been set up, among other things, to supervise Deputies and also to deal with complaints about how a Deputy is exercising his (or her) powers.
- Before, there was no need for the Committee to report to anyone. Now, every Deputy must file an annual report with the Office of Public Guardian.
- Before, the Court would usually grant very broad powers to the Committee so that the Committee would never have to go back to the Court. Now, the Court will grant the minimum powers required and later, if there is any need for further powers, the Deputy is expected to apply to Court again at a subsequent date.
- (For example, it is now fairly common for the Court to grant the power to rent out the Patient's HDB flat. Later, if there is a need to sell the HDB flat for the benefit of the Patient, only subsequently, when the Deputy is able to justify this need for this, would the Court grant the power to sell the Patient's HDB flat.)
- Now, there has been a change in definition of mental incapacity to whether a person is able to make decisions for himself.
- Now, a form has prescribed to be used as the basis for the Medical Report from the doctor on the Patient's mental condition.
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