A legal document which authorises another person to make specified types of decisions or take actions on your behalf. You, the Principal, authorise a competent person who is trustworthy to be your Agent. This document also assures third parties that the agent may act on your behalf.
General Power of Attorney
We have all seen how fast life can turn unexpectedly; and sometimes for the worst. When life throws you that kind of curve-ball you want to make sure that, should you end up incapacitated due to illness or injury, you have a general power of attorney that allows an agent or your attorney to manage your assets and financial affairs.
What is it?
Why do you want one?
A power of attorney can be used to authorise someone else the right to manage your affairs if you cannot do so yourself, for example, if you are physically incapacitated.
It is important to note that:
Important to note
- You (the principal) will be bound by the acts performed by the agent on your behalf. In fact, your legally appointed agent is protected from any liability arising from such an appointment.
- You will require two witnesses to sign the power of attorney, who must be 14 years or older and who do not stand to gain any benefit from the power of attorney
- The principal must be 18 years or older and must be mentally competent at the signing of the power of attorney, in order to understand the nature and extent of powers being transferred.
- Power of attorney automatically lapses should the principal become mentally incapacitated. The law states that the agent cannot do anything that the principal is not capable of doing themself. Therefore, power of attorney cannot be used on behalf of a principal suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other mental illness.
Do you need it?
There are circumstances that may require a power of attorney to be in place. Examples are:
- if you plan to be out of the country for an extended period of time and want to leave someone else in charge of your affairs;
- if you have emigrated before completely winding your affairs in South Africa up; or
- if you are physically ill, impaired, or old. Here it will give a spouse or loved one the ability to handle your affairs.
How much does it cost?
Your attorney will charge a fee to draft a power of attorney. It is advisable to establish this cost upfront.
How can we help you?
ttooh! offers a free power of attorney template and will help you draft one to suit your situation.