WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
This Guide to Power of Attorney answers some of the frequently asked questions about granting Power of Attorney. However, we should note that our lawyer team is available to answer any questions and provide advice when you need it.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives another person the power to handle works related to your assets. Granting a Power of Attorney to an individual is a very serious decision. The person you ask to look after your legal affairs must be responsible, knowledgeable, and experienced in the field. More importantly, you must be able to trust them to ensure they keep your best interests.
What types of Power of Attorney are available?
There are two types of Powers of Attorney, namely:
- A General Power of Attorney. This is an arrangement that will let the authorized person handle the general works.
- A Specific Power of Attorney. This is the arrangement that will let the authorized person handle specific and delicate works such as purchasing real estate etc.
Which type of Power of Attorney you need to prepare depends on the legal work you want to be handled on your behalf. If you want the authority to be restricted to a certain period of time that is also possible. Before setting a time limit in your Power of Attorney, please take the advice of your attorney regarding how much time the work will take.
Why would you need a Power of Attorney?
Appointing someone to act on your behalf is usually a safeguard for your interests and those of your loved ones. You may be able to look after your assets now, but it can be that you won’t be able to do so in the future.
For example, if you become ill, go overseas, are confined to a hospital, or become unable to go to banks, government offices, or real estate agencies then you may need someone else to do things for you.
If you want someone to be able to sign documents on your behalf relating to real estate then a Power of Attorney will be essential. Especially, when you can’t speak the language of the country from which you will be purchasing real estate.
Who can I appoint?
Any person over the age of 18 can act as your attorney. It can be a friend who you trust or a close family member. You should ask the person you want to appoint if he or she will agree to be your attorney and look after your works.
If you do not want to appoint a relative or friend, then you may wish to appoint a lawyer who is professional in the field. FIN Real Estate can provide you a trustable lawyer to follow up your works while you are busy with your own works. It must be remembered that professional attorneys will be entitled to charge a fee for acting on your behalf.
What can my Attorney do?
Subject to any limits that you might wish to impose, your attorney can generally do all things that you appointed the attorney to do. For example, an attorney can buy, sell, lease, or mortgage your house, file a case for your interest, etc. An attorney generally cannot do things that you are doing in a representative capacity (such as acting as an executor in an estate) nor can an attorney make personal decisions about your health and lifestyle.
What are my Attorney’s obligations?
An attorney is under a duty to act in your best interests and is not entitled to obtain any benefit unless it is specifically authorized by the document.
An attorney must:
- act honestly in all matters concerning the principal’s legal and financial affairs.
- keep proper accounts and records of how the attorney handles your money and assets;
- follow the principal’s instructions.
If your attorney does not carry out the obligations properly, he or she is accountable to you and can be liable for civil and/or criminal penalties.
Can I cancel a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney can be canceled at any time. Also, a Power of Attorney will be canceled if the attorney dies, resigns, or loses mental capacity.
For more information on how our lawyers can help you with your Power of Attorney, please contact FIN Real Estate.
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