Knowing the Types of Power of Attorney is Important to a Person’s Life
A person living in Singapore will need a Power of Attorney when he or she is not in the country and cannot be there personally. These legal affairs could be about purchasing, renting, or selling a property he or she owns. Not all are the same and there are 7 types of Power of Attorney for specific functions.
The POA is made under section 48 Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (Cap 61 1994 Rev Ed) which may be given at the Supreme Court. Any POA submitted to Court will receive a public inspection, which is subject to a prescribed fee payment.
The General Power of Attorney
This type of POA allows a donee to have authority over any circumstance to act on the donor’s behalf. The general POA has access to safe deposit boxes in a bank, debt collections, the property being sold or bought, contracting on the donor’s behalf, tax return filing, and others.
Specific Power of Attorney
Based on its name, this kind of POA gives privilege to the donee, only on specified matters, to be there on their behalf. Therefore, the donor only gave power to the donee on the areas he or she specified. It is like the General POA, a certain POA can be revoked under these situations:
- When the donor revoked it himself/herself
- The donor died
- If the donor is incapacitated
- Certain events written in the POA
Non-Durable Power of Attorney
The non-durable POA’s characteristic is that people only use it for short-term agreements and transactions only. If in case the principal is unable to manage a transaction due to specific reasons, then getting a non-durable Power of Attorney is more suitable. Normally, this kind has an expiration. It ends when the principle is already incapacitated or cannot provide authority anymore for the POA to continue.
HDB Power of Attorney
For the buyer of HDB flat
Upon purchasing an HDB flat in the resale open market, you might be asked to appear personally in 2 appointments at the HDB hub:
- Choosing your HDB flat if you are purchasing the HDB directly
- When you need to sign the Sales Agreement
- Upon collecting the HDB flat keys
When purchasing an HDB flat, you need to sign a couple of legal documents. Therefore, if in any circumstance you are unable to attend, a Power of Attorney has to be prepared by you.
For HDB flat seller
If you are the seller of the HDB flat, you have to sign the necessary legal documents. Thus, if you are not available to sign the legal documents, make sure that a Power of Attorney has been prepared.
For subletting an HDB flat and landlords
If there is an HDB flat you are renting out or subletting and you cannot be present for the management issues of the HDB flat, prepare a POA. The reason for this is so that someone else will be allowed to handle those responsibilities for you.
You can seek help for preparing the Power of Attorney. In line with this, there are three types of HDB POA you’re going to need:
- For the general management, sale and subletting
- For subletting, purchasing and general management
- Only for General management and subletting
You need to sign the POA in a lawyer’s presence. In case you happen to be overseas, you are to sign the POA in a Notary Public, or a High Commission in Singapore.
After signing the POA, it will be registered for you under the Singapore High Court.
Once the registration process is finished, you or a representative authorized by you can get the POA. You will be provided with the important documents so you can already start the HDB processing after submitting them to HDB.
To make it easier for someone going overseas, it is best to plan ahead and sign the HDB POA before going to another country.
You should personally sign the POA and it cannot be used for the following purposes:
- HDB Application form
- Statutory Declarations (Under the law, you should sign the POA in the Notary Public or presence of Commission of Oaths)
- Any undertakings (According to the law, you should sign it in a Notary Public or the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths)
Private Property Power of Attorney
For the buyer of the private property
When you purchase a Private Property, you should attend to matters and documents like a letter from the bank about your loan approval.
Thus, if you cannot be there to complete such matters, a Power of Attorney is necessary.
For the private property seller
If you are the seller of a private property, you should sign and attend to legal documents and matters.
In any case you are unavailable to handle those matters, you should have a Power of Attorney prepared.
For the landlords of a private property
When you have a private property you will be renting out, and the rental and management concerns of the private property cannot be handled by you, get a POA. It is needed so that someone on your behalf could accomplish these responsibilities for you.
Seek help to get you prepared for the POA.
You should sign the POA in the presence of a lawyer.
In case you are out of the country, your POA should be signed by you in a Notary Public or the Singapore High Commission. After you are done signing, the POA will be registered for you under the Singapore High Court.
After registration of the POA, you or a representative you have authorized can collect it. You will be provided with the right documents so you can submit them to the HDB to start the process.
It is best to obtain a POA before leaving Singapore if you are going overseas.
You cannot use the POA to sign the following:
- Any undertakings because under the law you should sign the POA in the Notary Public or Commission for Oaths
- Statutory Declarations (there should be a signing of the POA in the presence of a Commission for Oaths or the Notary Public).
Revoke Power of Attorney
Certain conditions under the Mental Capacity Act can automatically revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). In addition, the donor can revoke the LPA.
Scenarios where the LPA gets automatically revoked
Section 15 under the Mental Capacity Act specifies these scenarios where the LPA is automatically gets revoked:
- When the donor or donee passes away
- During liquidation, dissolution of donee, winding up, or when placed under the judicial management
- If the donor or donee is already bankrupted which only causes the LPA to be revoked because it is about the donor’s affairs and property
- The marriage between the donor and donee goes through dissolution or annulment unless otherwise is stated in the LPA
- If the donee becomes mentally incapacitated
Revocation by the donor
A donor can revoke the LPA anytime as long as he or she has the mental capacity to make it happen
For the LPA to be revoked, the donor needs to accomplish the following:
- The revocation form has to be completed and signed
- The donee has to be informed about the revocation
- The public guardian has to be told about the revocation. It can be accomplished by taking these items to the Public Guardian’s office:
- Completed form of revocation
- Original LPA
- Any copy of the LPA for the office
- $25 cancellation fee. The Public Guardian might need the donor to give more documents or information prior to canceling the LPA registration.
In case the donee is not told about the LPA revocation, he or she may have protection from the Mental Capacity Act. The act will give protection if he/she is dependent that the donor’s affairs will be managed by him/her if the donor loses mental capacity. A person dealing with the donee under these circumstances may also receive protection.
What happens after it is revoked?
After the LPA is revoked, the LPA registration will be canceled by the Public Guardian. A cancellation notice will be received by the donor and all donees. The Public Guardian will upload the revoked LPA’s reference number on the list of records for revoked LPA’s.
When the donor does not have capacity when the LPA was revoked
The mental capacity or lack of it is to be determined by the court as it is a valid issue. If there is any suspicion that the donor had the mental capacity when the LPA was revoked, an application can proceed to court. A lawyer can provide assistance in making the application.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
The LPA should be signed when you are still healthy.
The mental capacity declines as people age and that is a fact that cannot be hidden. With age and getting older, there might come a time when others need to step in and make decisions on a person’s behalf.
It is sad when a loved one can no longer care for themselves and a declining mental ability to make logical decisions. A person may feel tragic when they have to act on behalf of their parents who had a stroke and cannot properly communicate anymore. Their parents could have developed dementia, senility and Alzheimer’s disease. Another case is when a parent falls and becomes unconscious.
The payment of the bills is necessary and when a parent can no longer make decisions and care for themselves, an LPA has to be signed right away.
Accidents and Bad Events
If a person had an accident or has to undergo surgery and they cannot make decisions, the loved ones cannot act on their behalf.
The law gives protection to your rights in case you lose mental capacity.
The law lets you get protection for yourself to trust another person to attend to your personal affairs and interests.
If the donor loses his or her mental capacity, the LPA allows him or her to appoint a person (donee) to make decisions on their behalf. Since it is a mystery when a person will lose their mental capacity, this is a crucial Legal Document that should be done in advance.
In case you are about able to obtain a Lasting Power of Attorney and your mental capacity is no longer functional, another person should apply for a Court Order. This process in the court could consume a lot of time and money.
Who can become a donee?
The donee should be 21 years old and above upon signing of the LPA. He or she must not be bankrupt.
Powers of the donee:
- To restrain the donor
- The donor’s medical treatment or healthcare
- Nominations covered by the Insurance act
- Executing the donor’s will
- CPF funds
- Handling the property of the donor
- Using the donor’s property to make gifts
How to apply:
- Fill out the necessary LPA form
- Get the form certified
- Register the LPA application
These are types of Power of Attorney and it is important for facilitating the principle so his or her work can be continued even without their presence. The revocation of the donee’s right by the donor is also important to prevent any harm from happening. Even revocation is normally possible in most cases, there are a couple of exceptions. Before accepting or giving a person the Power of Attorney, the principal or agent should know about these conditions.
This article might overwhelm you. To clarify everything further, we are offering estate planning services in Singapore. We have a broad specialization on legal topics, including the power of attorney. Contact us if you need help.