Good news, parents with children without mental capacity can now appoint themselves as deputies at a rock bottom price of just $250!
This was after the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) started a pilot project to have volunteer undergraduate law students do some of the work previously handled by lawyers. Lawyers charged about $5000 for such work.
A deputy is appointed by the court to make certain decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity. A deputy can be an individual or a licensed trust company.
I always encourage my clients with children without mental capacity to appoint themselves as deputies. This is because children who turns 21 are considered adults. Parents would no longer be the guardian of their children at this age. To ensure these parents can continue to make decisions on behalf of their children, they need to appoint themselves as deputies.
Unfortunately, appointing themselves as deputies is an almost impossible task.
First, it is almost impossible to find a lawyer who is familiar with the process. I remember referring a case to a lawyer. The lawyer told my client it is not necessary to appoint herself as deputy! Based on highlight, that advice was given because the lawyer did not understand the importance and probably did not understand the process. So the lawyer just gave an excuse to decline the business.
(I must admit that I am also guilty of giving some excuses when I do not wish to take on a financial planning case. For example, if the case has no potential of leading to a long-term professional relationship, I will tend not to take on the case.)
Second, the fee charged by lawyers for the appointment of deputy is a whopping $5000. I really don’t understand why it is so expensive. It consists mainly of paper work and very little advice and does not require higher order thinking. The paper work can be easily done by the law firm’s admin staff.
Fortunately, the government has decided to step in to outsource this paper work to law students. If law students can do it, it proves that the work is not difficult.
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