Entrusting someone with Power of Attorney (POA) is an important step that should be carefully decided. If you are considering someone to be your Power of Attorney, then that individual has to be someone whose decision-making you trust completely. You (’Principal’) can give someone Power of Attorney to sign documents, attend court on your behalf or even make healthcare choices in the event that you are too ill to do so. This document can be very useful for persons abroad and unable to travel. Empowering a family member or friend in Jamaica with a power of attorney may come in convenient as that person can conduct business on your behalf.
Below are 6 Steps you should take when granting someone POA:
- Identify the individual (over the age of 18 years) you would like to grant Power of Attorney. Bear in mind however, that the term ‘attorney’ is never to be equated with a trained Attorney-at-Law. The attorney in this context is simply equipped with certain authorities to exercise powers that the Principal would have exercised had he/she been present.
- Where it is found that the Principal lacked mental capacity to create a power of attorney, the document is invalid and any transaction between the attorney and a third party would be void.
- Contact a lawyer to draft the Power of Attorney. It should be noted that Power of Attorney documents vary by the specifications of the Principal. Specific powers or duties should be outlined once a general power of attorney is not being given.
- The document is to be executed by the Principal granting the power of attorney and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or Notary Public and sealed.
- Once executed, the Power of Attorney should be sent for stamping within fourteen days of execution to avoid penalty. Proof of stamp duty payment must be evident on the document. Stamp duty is paid at the Stamp Office in May Pen, Clarendon or Kingston.
- All Power of Attorney documents MUST be registered with the Registrar General’s Department. After the appropriate fees are paid, the customer will be issued a receipt and then informed when to return for the completed document.
The Power of Attorney may be revoked by express revocation upon the execution of a deed. The Principal must ensure that the attorney is given notice of such revocation.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)