What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?
It’s a legal document created by a person (donor) to entrust another person (donee) to act on the donor’s behalf.
- Donor: A person who creates the POA.
- Donee: A person who acquires certain powers as stated in the POA.
Why should you consider creating a Power of Attorney?
A POA can help with legal affairs such as buying or selling property or ensuring someone handles your personal matters.
POA’s are often used where someone cannot look after their affairs, such as if a parent has dementia. It can also be used by someone who works overseas, travels abroad, or for whatever reason, they’re not in Singapore, but still needs someone to look after their legal affairs.
There are five types of Power of Attorney
General Power of Attorney
The general POA gives the donee authority to act on behalf of the donor in all circumstances unless the POA instructs that the donee has restricted powers in some areas.
The general POA can authorise the donee with numerous powers such as access to bank funds, selling or buying property, filing tax returns, entering business arrangements for the donor, collecting rent etc.
Specific Power of Attorney / Non-Durable Power of Attorney
This POA allows the donee to act on behalf of the donor for specified matters. This means the donee has power only in those selected areas. For instance, buying and selling property.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is made by a person (donor), authorising one or more persons (donee/s) to manage the donor’s affairs if they lose mental capacity.
Decisions for the donor regarding personal welfare, property and finances are made by the donee who the donor authorises.
For a family, an LPA eliminates the problems of applying for a court order which may cost S$5,000 to S$10,000 in legal fees. Further, it helps prevent any potential disputes within the family about who should be the decision-maker for the donor.
HDB Power of Attorney
Housing and Development Board (HDB) POA is the most common type of POA in Singapore.
A HDB POA is needed when a house purchaser cannot attend the appointment to collect their keys. A HDB POA is also necessary if the purchaser is unable to personally attend the signing of legal documents as follows:
- Sales Agreement
- Lease Agreement
- Deed of Assignment
Conditional or Springing Power of Attorney
This type of POA is activated only when a specific event occurs. For example, a conditional POA is activated when the donor travels to another country.