What is a POA document?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written contract, a document defined by the Supreme Court of Singapore as “an instrument created by a person who entrusts someone to act on his behalf”.
It is a contract by which a person, the donor, gives another person, the donee, the power to do one or more legal acts in his name and on his behalf. It may be general, giving the agent the right to do almost any act that the principal could do, or it may be limited to certain defined acts.
There is no POA Act in Singapore unlike in other countries and it is therefore necessary to refer to the Common Law and various laws which govern this contract such as:

Conveyancing and Law of Property Act
Evidence Act
Land Titles Act
Registration of Deeds Act
Trustees Act
The Rules of court

There are different types of Power of Attorney, and it is not necessarily mandatory to register them all with the public registries, although it is strongly recommended. In order to be registered, the Power of Attorney must comply with the provisions of Section 48 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act and the Supreme Court as per the Rules of Court (Order 60).

The Power of Attorney (POA) provisions in these various statutes apply depending on the acts performed by the donee.

For example, the provisions of Sections 44 to 48 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act apply only to acts involving a transfer of property.

Who can donate and who can be appointed as a proxy?

A POA is a legally binding document that authorizes a person to make decisions and perform acts on your behalf.

The Mandatary can be: An attorney, a family member, an employee, or anyone you trust. There are no common law or civil law restrictions on this.

The Donor can be: Any person who is legally competent (over 21 years of age and not in personal bankruptcy) and mentally capable can make a POA.

What are the risks for the Donor?

There are indeed risks in making a POA to a person who is not trusted. The principal is personally bound by the acts performed on his behalf by the agent and may be held responsible for any negligence on his part. It is therefore essential to choose a person you can trust.

Can the mandatary be sued for mismanagement?

No. The mandatary is only liable in case of intentional mismanagement. Therefore, he/she cannot be liable for having mistakenly performed an act that is detrimental to you. This is why it is essential to have a POA that is as clear and precise as possible defining the acts that the agent can or cannot perform on your behalf in order to best protect you.

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What are the main types of POA?

1. General Power of Attorney:

A General Power of Attorney empowers the attorney to act for and on behalf of the principal in all circumstances. This implies that the attorney can access the principal’s bank accounts, buy, sell or lease the principal’s property etc.

2. Specific Power of Attorney:

This is the case where the principal gives the agent a mandate to perform one or more acts defined in advance in the POA. The attorney has no power beyond what is specifically agreed in the POA.

3. Non-durable Power of Attorney:

This is a power of attorney giving the attorney authority for a specific (usually short) period of time. It is generally used where a person is absent for a specific period of time and entrusts the management of his or her affairs to another person in his or her absence.

4. Housing and Development Bord Power of Attorney (HDB POA):

This represents the most commonly used POA in Singapore. If you wish to buy, sell or rent a property in Singapore, there are certain documents or appointments that you must personally attend. This is the case to collect the keys or to sign documents such as Option to Purchase, Lease-in-escrow, Lease Agreement, Assignment deed.
Therefore, if you cannot be present personally to perform these tasks, it is necessary to have an HDB POA perform them on your behalf.

5. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):

This is a legal document that allows a person over the age of 21 to give a power of attorney to a third party to make decisions and act on his or her behalf in the event that he or she loses mental capacity.
The Lasting Power of Attorney is subject to the Mental Capacity Act 2008. According to this Act, the LPA can only be made by the attorney if he or she has full mental capacity at the time of signing. According to Section 11 of the same Act, the POA becomes effective only when the principal loses mental capacity.
This type of POA allows a person to protect himself or herself in advance in the event that he or she loses mental capacity and to avoid the need for a court order appointing a mandatary. Indeed, such a court order can have an estimated cost of between 5,000 and 10,000 SGD.

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What is the procedure for registering the POA?

In the event that an agent is acting on your behalf, it is important that the person with whom they are contracting on your behalf is able to verify that they have the authority to contract on your behalf.
That is why when a POA is registered in the public records of the Supreme Court of Singapore, it becomes publicly available and allows people contracting with the agent to verify that he or she has the authority to represent you.

In order to be registered, the POA must comply with the particulars prescribed in Section 48 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act and Order 60 of the Rules of Court.

To do so, the POA must be accompanied by one of the following means of verification:

➤ Affidavit
➤ Statutory declaration
➤ Notarial certificate
➤ A true copy certified by the Registrar, Deputy Registrar or Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court

How does the Power of Attorney end?

➤ The principal revokes the power of attorney
➤ The principal dies
➤ The principal loses mental capacity (except in the case of a Lasting POA)
➤ The specific event for which the POA was made has occurred
➤ The date on which the POA is to end has passed

In conclusion, a POA gives the agent significant power over your assets, so be careful in choosing an agent and use a carefully drafted contract to protect yourself.
The creation of a POA involves a complex procedure and requires specific knowledge of the law, so it is strongly recommended to use the services of a lawyer. That is why Themis Partner offers you standardized or individualized POA contracts to best suit your needs.

Themis Partner provides you with standardized or customized contracts guaranteeing you a Power of Attorney that complies with the legal requirements and is tailored to your needs.

Contact us to draft a Power of Attorney tailored to your needs

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