What makes a Good Death?

I want to make my medical goals, healthcare preferences, and financial arrangements known in advance. This can ameliorate the burden and stress on my loved ones when I lose my mental capacity and the ability to communicate.

What happens when difficult decisions have to be made during crisis situations and you are unable to express your wishes?

Your loved ones may not know the treatment option and care arrangement that are most aligned with your values and beliefs. This is especially for decisions that border between life and death. Also, despite having your best interest in mind, your loved ones can still have differing opinions among themselves when making decisions on your behalf. This often leads to  conflicts and disharmony in the family.

Even when your loved ones are well-informed of your preferred plan of care, they can be caught in a bind if they do not have the legal mandate to act on your behalf. This includes both your personal well-being and property affairs. Ultimately, all these can translate to great amount of burden and guilt on the persons who love you the most. So find out more about the different Advance Directives available in Singapore to plan ahead for rainy days!

Advance Care Planning (ACP)

With advancements in medical science, many illnesses that were once life-threatening are now transformed into chronic conditions. It may lead to unnecessary prolongation of lives using aggressive medical treatments. To some individuals, such medical outcomes have poor quality of life and living becomes a form of suffering.

Through ACP, you can document your medical goals and treatment preferences in advance with the hope to ensure better quality of life. When you are no longer able to articulate your preferences, the medical team can take your care wishes into consideration when deciding on the best course of treatment for you. You are also strongly encouraged to select Nominated Healthcare Spokesperson(s) (NHS) who can convey your wishes to the medical team.

Contact us to fix an appointment to initiate your ACP with a certified facilitator. ACP is an ongoing conversation as it is common for our needs and preferences to change over time. It is not a legal document and you can regularly update your ACP with us.

More information about ACP on Living Matters website

Advance Medical Directive (AMD)

By signing an AMD, it informs your medical doctor that you do not want extraordinary life-sustaining treatments to prolong your life in the event of an incurable condition and death is imminent.

AMD does not affect any right, power or duty which a medical practitioner or any other person has in giving you palliative and comfort care. This includes the provision of reasonable medical treatment to relieve pain, suffering or discomfort, and the reasonable provision of food and water.

AMD is a legal document.

More information about AMD on MOH website

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

When you lose the mental capacity or physical ability to articulate your decisions, some possible and concerning situations can happen:

  • Signatories involving personal transactions (e.g., banking, housing) may be nulled or rejected. This can affect your caregivers who may need these resources to provide for your care.
  • To gain access to your assets and property, your caregivers have to apply to be an appointed deputy. The costly legal fees and lengthy legal procedures can bring about unnecessary burden and stress.
  • As the court does not know your family dynamics, its decision can differ from yours. Inevitably, you are relinquishing control over the choice of person who can make decisions on your behalf.

How can the LPA help you? It allows you to indicate your choice of a proxy decision maker when you lose mental capacity. You can choose someone whom you trust to be reliable, competent, and capable. This person can be given the legal mandate to act on your behalf in two broad areas – personal welfare as well as property and assets.

If you have already done your LPA, you are strongly encouraged to do ACP to document and inform your loved ones about your care preferences.

More information about LPA on Office of Public Guardian (OPG) website

Upon my death, I want to allocate my assets according to my will.

If you have not made your Last Will and CPF Nomination prior to your demise, your assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act or the Inheritance Certificate (for Muslims). Your assets may be distributed in a manner that differs from your intentions or wishes.

Last Will

A person makes a Will to provide for the administration and distribution of what he owns (‘his estate’) among his beneficiaries after his death. The person also nominates an Executor and/or Trustee to administer his Will and distribute his estate upon his death.

CPF Nomination

A CPF nomination allows CPF members to specify the beneficiaries of their CPF savings and the proportion that each nominee should receive upon their demise. You do not need to make a CPF nomination if you wish to distribute your CPF savings according to the Intestate Succession Act or the Inheritance Certificate (for Muslims).

More information about CPF Nomination on CPF Website

I want to leave a legacy and be remembered for what I have contributed to the society.

There are many ways to leave lasting footprints for your community and loved ones. While not many can make life-changing contributions to the world, you can have a modest legacy with great meanings.

One of the greatest gifts that you can make is the gift of life. Read more about Organ Donation on website.

Organ Donation

Donating one’s organ is a generous act of kindness and compassion. By giving life, you are giving hope to a fellow Singaporean to live on.

The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) allows specifically for one’s kidneys, heart, liver and corneas to be removed in the event of death for the purpose of transplantation.

The Medical (Therapy, Education, and Research) Act (MTERA) is an opt-in scheme, where people can pledge any of their organs and body parts for donation. Going beyond the purpose of organ transplantation, one can also document their wishes to donate for educational and/or research purposes.

I want to speak with someone who can communicate with me about death and dying matters comfortably.

Talking about death and navigating the landscape is not always the easiest thing to do. We have trained personnel to facilitate end-of-life conversations (with individuals and/or family), post-prognosis adjustment or bereavement counselling.

Find out more about Our Services and Contact Us to speak to our Good Death Specialists.