Power Of Attorney In Singapore: What You Need To Know

Written by Team Farallon

  • Farallon Law Corporation
  • October 6, 2021

What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal instrument that allows a person (‘donor’) to appoint one or more persons (‘donee(s)’) to manage his affairs on his behalf. A POA document lays out the powers conferred onto the donee, as well as any limitations on this power.

A POA can be useful for a party in a situation where he is unable to manage his personal, legal and financial affairs in person such as selling, purchasing or renting his property.

Donor: The person who is appointing someone to manage his affairs

Donee: Someone who has been appointed to manage a donor’s affairs

The 5 Types of Power of Attorney In Singapore

General Power of Attorney

The general POA authorizes the donee to act on behalf of the donor in all circumstances unless the POA document itself specifies the power of the donee in certain situations.

A general POA can give the donee certain powers, which includes entering into financial transactions and legal transactions, transacting of property, entering in contracts on behalf of the donor and filing tax returns etc.

General POAs are valid until revoked under the following circumstances:

  • revocation by the donor;
  • passing of the donor;
  • incapacitation of the donor; or
  • upon a specific event set out in the POA.

Specific Power of Attorney/Non-Durable Power of Attorney

Specific POA authorizes the donee to act on behalf of the owner for specified matters only. Unlike the general POA, the donee only has authority in those specified areas.

Like the general POA, Specific POAs are valid until revoked under the following circumstances:

  • revocation by the donor;
  • passing of the donor;
  • incapacitation of the donor; or
  • upon a specific event set out in the POA.

HDB Power of Attorney

Housing and Development Board (HDB) POA is the most common type of POA in Singapore. A HDB POA is required when a home purchaser cannot attend the appointment to collect his keys.e A HDB POA is also required if a party is unable to personally attend the legal signing of the following documents:

  • Sales Agreement
  • Lease Agreement
  • Option-to-Purchase
  • Deed of Assignment
  • Lease-in-Escrow
  • Mortgage-in-Escrow

HDB POAs are commonly employed by a party situated abroad and thus unable to personally sign the legal documents in Singapore. In these situations, the party will engage an attorney to act on his behalf. The POA prepared will establish the powers bestowed upon the attorney, such as the power to transact, execute documents or refund money to the CPF Board.

Conditional/Springing Power of Attorney

The Conditional POA or Springing POA is a type of POA that is only activated upon triggering a specific event. Details of this specific event should be established during the drafting of the POA. For instance, the POA could confer authority on the donee only where the donor is overseas.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal instrument employed by a donor authorising a donee to manage his affairs if he loses his mental capacity. In Singapore, it is governed under The Mental Capacity Act.  

Under the LPA, the donee has the power to make decisions on behalf of the donor regarding his personal and/or property and financial matters. This eliminates potential financial and psychological uncertainty that the donor and/or his family may experience in the event that the donor loses his mental capacity.

A valid LPA needs to be certified by certificate issuers to ensure that the donor understands the purpose and consequences of the LPA. This also ensures that there is no fraud, coercion or undue pressure when drafting the LPA.

The following is the general procedure to create LPA:

  • Fill in your LPA application by first choosing a trusted donee (21 years old and above) and designating the powers to confer to your donee. If you have more than 1 donee, you should decide if they are to act jointly or jointly & severally.
  • See an LPA certificate issuer. The certificate issuer can either be a practising lawyer, a psychiatrist, or an accredited medical practitioner. Usually, a fee will be charged for certification.
  • Submit your completed LPA application to the Office of the Public Guardian.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Create a POA?

As the drafting of a POA is a complicated process and entails legal procedures, it is advised that you engage a qualified lawyer to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

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