Power of Attorney (POA) in Singapore
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document which grants authority to a person to act on your behalf in your absence. You can appoint a lawyer, friend or a family member to be a POA.
Types of Power of Attorney (POA)
- Administering Estates
- HDB Flats (while overseas)
- Private Property
What is a POA and who can I appoint?
A POA is a legally drafted document which allows someone else to act on your behalf when you are not in the country or living abroad and whom you can trust to act in your best interests in your absence. The Donor is the person who needs the POA. The Donee is the person who is granted this responsibility and is authorised to follow your instructions to act in situations where you are for example, out of the country. Donees can be lawyers, friends or family members whom you can entrust with your personal affairs.
The POA allows you to give authority to the Donee acting on your behalf so it is important that you consider what powers you wish to part with in the POA whether general or specific.
How do I prepare a POA?
As a POA confers power to another person, they should be drafted in clear and precise language. Our partner firms will be able to draft and register these documents for you to ensure that there is no scope for doubt in your POA.
When does a POA become invalid?
POAs are valid until the date of expiration as stated in the POA. An example would be a POA which deals with a HDB flat. The POA is not allowed by the HDB to last more than 6 years from the date it took effect. A new one should be made if the Donor still requires the assistance of the Donee.
A Donor can also revoke the POA if they are not happy with the Donee’s performance or past decisions taken on their behalf. They would have to withdraw their POA and apply for a new one which would allow them to appoint a new Donee.
The POA also gets terminated when the Donor dies, becomes mentally incapacitated or is bankrupt. With the power of the Donee coming from the Donor, the power authorised to the Donee ends when the Donor dies or loses legal or mental capacity.
Is a POA the same as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
No, a POA is not the same as a LPA, which has its own section below.
The POA ends when the donor is no longer mentally able. In contrast to this, an LPA is executed by the donor when he or she is still mentally able. It only becomes effective when his or her mental capacity is lost.
Are there different types of POA’s?
There are a few types of POAs in Singapore;
General Power of Attorney
The general POA gives the Donee the ability to act on your behalf on all circumstances unless stated in the POA document itself which could restrict the power of the Donee in certain situations.
A general POA can confer various powers, including buying and selling property, collecting debts, contracting on behalf of the donor, and filing tax returns.
These general POAs are valid until revoked by you, upon your death or upon an event which you specified in the POA document.
Specific Power of Attorney or Non-Durable Power of Attorney
Specific POAs confer authority over specified matters. The Donee can only act on your behalf in those specified matters such as selling a home or other piece of real estate.
Specific POAs are usually valid until revoked by you, upon your death or upon an event specified in the POA document.
Springing Power of Attorney
There also exists a conditional POA known as a springing POA which can be drafted to only be activated by specific events happening. For instance, the POA could grant authority on the Donee only when you are travelling overseas.
HDB Power of Attorney
This is the most common type of POA in Singapore. A HDB POA is necessary when a homebuyer cannot attend the appointment to collect his keys. More commonly, it is used in the signing of the legal documents where a party cannot personally attend to the signing. These documents include:
Option to Purchase
HDB POAs are commonly used where someone lives abroad and cannot personally sign the documents in Singapore, in which case he will have to appoint an attorney to act on his behalf. The HDB POA will spell out the powers conferred upon the attorney, such as the power to sell and execute documents.
It should be noted that HDB POAs follow their own criteria and format for a POA.
What is the procedure for a HDB POA?
Depending on your needs, our partner firms will be able to prepare one of the following types of HDB Powers of Attorney for you:
Purchase, Sub-letting and General Management
Sale, Sub-Letting and General Management
Sub-Letting and General Management
You may also need to provide our partner firms with the following details:
The full name of the flat owner, as stated in their NRIC, the full name of the attorney, as stated in their NRIC, the full address of the HDB flat in question.
Once the Power of Attorney has been registered, you will be advised on what documents you are further required to submit to the HDB.
What are the costs?
Regardless of your choice of POA, Smart Law charges $250 for;
Filing fee to the High Court
Witnessing fee by the lawyer