Generate your own legal General or Special
Power Of Attorney
document online now and allow others to act on your behalf.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a General Power of Attorney?

A General POA gives broad powers to a person (known as an agent or attorney; we will refer to them as an “Agent” to avoid confusion) to act on behalf of the Principal. These powers include most aspects of the Principal’s life.

A General POA is an effective tool if the Principal will be out of the country and needs someone to handle certain matters, or when the Principal is not physically capable of managing their affairs.

What is a Special Power of Attorney?

A Special POA also gives the Agent powers to act on the Principal’s behalf, but these powers will be limited according to the Principal’s preferences. A Special POA is often used when the Principal cannot handle certain affairs due to other commitments or health reasons.

Who can be an Agent?

Basically, anyone, provided they have the legal capacity to act (e.g. a child does is not allowed to sign a legal contract so a child could not be your Agent).  It is not necessary that the person chosen to be the Agent is an actual lawyer / attorney.

Trust is a key factor when choosing an Agent. Whether the Agent selected is a friend, relative, organization, or lawyer, the Principal needs someone who will look out for their best interests, respect their wishes, and won’t abuse the powers granted to him or her.

An Agent should keep accurate records of all transactions done on the Principal’s behalf and provide the Principal with periodic updates to keep them informed.

Can an Agent be held liable for acts undertaken on the Principal's behalf?

An Agent can only be held personally responsible for intentional misconduct!

If there is no intentional misconduct, all the actions undertaken by the Agent will bind the Principal and make them liable.

Should the Principal or any interested party suspect wrongdoing on the part of the Agent, they must act immediately and contact a lawyer; the Principal should also revoke the POA.

Does the Agent get paid?

It is not customary to compensate an Agent, most do it for free.  However, you may allow the Agent reasonable compensation in terms of our POA.

Can I have more than one POA?

You can have more than one POA but this can be confusing.  To avoid confusion it is recommended that any previous Power of Attorney is revoked when you make a new one, but, it is up to you.

Who needs a Power of Attorney?

A POA is an effective tool if you will be out of the country and need someone to handle certain matters, or when you are ill or incapacitated in some way.

They are also often used when you cannot handle certain affairs due to other commitments.

Selling property (movable and immovable), managing immovable property (i.e. a house), collecting debts, handling certain business transactions; etc. are among the more common reasons for a Power of Attorney.

How to Revoke Power of Attorney?

You can cancel or revoke a signed Power of Attorney at any time, regardless of the reason. The revocation should be made in writing and you should give notice to your Agent that you are revoking.

How Long Does a Power of Attorney Last?

Usually, a Power of Attorney is valid until it is revoked or replaced.  If you prefer to set a specific date for termination, you may include that information in our POA. After that designated date, your POA would no longer be valid.

Is a POA valid if the Principal dies or becomes Mentally Incapacitated?

In South Africa, we do not have a POA that is “enduring”.

This means that for a Power of Attorney to remain valid the Principal must be of sound mind and alive.

If the Principal’s mental capacity diminishes below the legal threshold, the Power of Attorney falls away and is no longer valid … it is irrelevant that the Agent has full mental capacity.  In these circumstances, a Power of Attorney is not appropriate and a Curator will need to be appointed by the Master of the High Court to handle the Principal’s affairs.

The POA will also fall away if the Principal dies.

 

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