What Jamaicans should know about powers-of-attorney

The name power-of-attorney can be intimidating at times. However all Jamaicans should be well aware of this term and what it means

The name power-of-attorney can be intimidating at times, but, the individual so appointed never is a replacement for, although carrying out some duties of a trained attorney-at-law. All Jamaicans should be well aware of this term and what it means. The term “power of attorney” is really the document which lawfully allows the appointed individual to carry out legal transactions on behalf of the person who made the appointment. The person making the appointment is called the Principal.
Very easily Jamaicans usually refer to the person appointed by, or carrying out the duties of the person they represent as an attorney, because of the power-of-attorney given. However, the term generally understood is generally accepted in reference to the document which is given to the individual.

Simply put the power-of-attorney document appoints one as really an attorney-in-fact with certain responsibilities legally for the principal (person making the appointment or giving over the power), but the appointed person is different from an attorney-at-law.

For those persons abroad and unable to travel, empowering someone with a power of attorney may come in handy as that person will work on your behalf in those challenging situations when you just cant fly down to Jamaica, in a second to attend.

The THREE KINDS of powers-of-attorney documents or instruments are:

“Nondurable” “Durable” and “Springing” Power of Attorney.

The “Nondurable” Power of Attorney takes effect immediately, and remains in effect until it is revoked by the Principal (ie person appointing), or until the Principal becomes mentally incompetent or dies.
Such “Nondurable” Power of Attorney is often used for a specific transaction. A popular transaction is the closing on the sale of property, or the handling of the Principal’s financial affairs, or even to recover possession and sums on property.

The “Durable” Power of Attorney enables the Agent to act for the Principal even after the Principal is not mentally competent or physically able to make decisions. The “Durable” Power of Attorney may be used immediately, and is effective until it is revoked by the Principal, or until the Principal’s death.

A “Springing” Power of Attorney becomes effective at a future time. That is, it “springs up” upon the happenings of a specific event chosen by the Power of Attorney. Often that event is the illness or disability of the Principal. The “Springing” Power of Attorney will frequently provide that the Principal’s physician will determine whether the Principal is competent to handle his or her financial affairs. A “Springing” Power of Attorney remains in effect until the Principal’s death, or until revoked by a court.

GENERAL Power-of-Attorney

[extracted information. See reference below]
General Power of Attorney is an instrument authorising one person to act on the behalf of another, including signing legal documents and making legal decisions, writing checks, or other household matters. A person is enabled with a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf in the event you became ill or disabled, or if you need to travel and matters need to be completed at home, etc. The person granting the authorisation is called the principal. The person authorised to act on the principal’s behalf is called the attorney-in-fact or agent. The term attorney-in-fact should not be confused with an attorney-at-law. One need not be a lawyer to serve as an attorney-in-fact under a Power of Attorney instrument.

Note that the word “attorney” is not used here to mean “lawyer”. Almost anyone can be appointed an attorney by a power of attorney. The person does not need to be a lawyer. With a General Power of Attorney, your Attorney-in-Fact is authorised to undertake any acts you can do. For example, legal, business and financial matters, opening checking accounts, withdrawing funds from accounts, signing documents to sell your home, etc

Now in Jamaica all powers-of-attorney documents MUST be registered at the Registrar General Department
Stay connected for the procedures on doing so!

Wherein lies the power is any and every Jamaican’s concern. The article at Power of Attorney is useful.

Elements of power-of-attorney

Contained within the power-of-attorney document (click for sample of power of attorney) can be these elements:
Person allowing power
Person getting the power
commence date
ending date (OPTIONAL and depends on type of power of attorney)
terms of appointment
special conditions
specific tasks
agent powers
principal’s signature
agent’s signature (OPTIONAL)
witness’ signature
signature of notary public or justice of peace


2011 Fee structure by government offices at this link. Bear in mind it does not include drafting and transportation expenses.
When hiring someone to act under a power of attorney, get someone who you trust. Bear in mind they have power, if you give them, to do anything on your behalf,  although you can revoke this power, it maybe too late by the time you catch up with the wrongfully-appointed person.

Power of attorney when pluralised becomes power of attorneys, although the ‘power’ itself can be pluralised referring to the actual allowed responsibilities or powers so hence powers of attorney.

Jamaica National Land Agencynla ref_PowersofAttorney

According to WIKIPEDIA, the online dictionary
Understanding Power of Attorney
Administrator General Department in Jamaica
What is power of Attorney according to Jamaica Star

The above does not constitute legal advice, but are articles by inhouse senior journalists after research and discussion with attorneys-at-law and other specialists. Names are sometimes changed by request of the viewers.
FOR PHYSICAL ASSISTANCE: please contact Legal Wiz Team:
For physical work and other needed legal assistance in Jamaica, (including follow ups, collections, agents, research, form full out, wills etc) not requiring the full services of an attorney-at-law, call 876-530-5744 or 305-648-6963 or write to legalwizwork@yahoo.com to make arrangements beyond the commitment of this mediahouse, or visit Suite # 1, 3 South Avenue, Swallowfield, Kingston 5, Jamaica West Indies. NB: Fee conditions may apply!

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34 thoughts on “What Jamaicans should know about powers-of-attorney

  1. Good morning

    I live in the UK, my father lives in Jamaica. He is ageing and currently
    unable to walk.

    We would like to find out how much it would cost for you to arrange a power
    of attorney and if it would be possible for you to visit at his home
    (Old Harbour). I will be on the island from next week monday (1/7/13)
    for a few days, but if it isn’t possible to do this next week, how would it
    work for family that is in the UK to become power of attorney and is there
    an extra charge for that?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Warm regards

  2. Good morning Luzolo,

    Please make your query a bit clearer. You did say that will be in the island. Do you therefore need power-of-attorney for yourself, a family member or to empower our team members so we can assist you.
    Additionally for what purpose will you contract us to visit the home of your father. Is it that you hope for us to meet specifically at your dad’s house on your visit starting Monday. Is it that you want to arrange for the relating member of the team to supervise him, to assist with specific tasks, to check up on him or any other matters.
    We can prepare draft power of attorney document for you to use for a fee.
    For any task requiring us to have a power of attorney document, the fee is different to prepare, register, notarise such power of attorney document.
    To visit Old Harbour, an initial J$10,000 is required. This fee is either reduced or waivered if its concluded with the usage of the power-of-attorney, should we be contracted to operate on your behalf.
    When you are actually on the island, you can call us at 876-530-5744.

  3. I take care of an elderly and very sick relative as her next of kin. I take care of all financial affairs and medical affairs. She is quite senile and can no longer make major decisions regarding her care. She is therefore not able to recommend me as to apply for Power of Attorney. What are the possibilities of this being done?

    I need access to bank accounts as her nursing care expenses are .climbing as her health deteriorates.

    I await your urgent response.

  4. I would like to get a power of attorney for someone to act on my behalf. I am however not in Jamaica at this time and the person is in Jamaica. Can I still get a power of attorney? How will I go about obtaining same?

  5. Good morning Chantellee, Thanks for communicating. You sure can acquire the power of attorney from either an attorney or a member of our team who handles this for a fee. Should you wish to use our services, as information will be required from you along with payments, so please write to legalwizwork@yahoo.com.
    All the best

  6. Hi there I have been made power of attorney by my grandfather he left me to deal with his property in Jamaica he has now passed away. I am currently leaving in the UK it is financially difficult for me to travel to Jamaica, I would like to appoint a close friend of my to take over how would I go about doing this and who would I need to contact also how much would it cost me.

    Kind regards


  7. DEAR DAVID WILID: Our team can assist you for a fee. The fee structure can be emailed to you. Within our team are attornies willing also to assist you.

  8. Hello and good morning,
    I currently have ‘power of attorney’ in place and considering revoking this. Can you tell me if this has to be revoked by a Lawyer, and rough cost please. Many thanks
    Miss A

  9. Hi Rogers,
    Revoking a power of attorney is a matter of drafting the document by the person who gave it, and getting it registered. The person on the receiving end can alternatively register a document to effect his desire to discontinue acting under the power of attorney.
    The fees vary, but the lowest response we got was 10,000 Jamaican dollars, which does not include actual registration of the document.
    Legal Wiz

  10. Hi Rogers,
    Revoking a power of attorney is a matter of drafting the document of revocation on behalf of the person who gave it, and getting same registered. The person on the receiving end can alternatively register a document to effect his desire to discontinue acting under the power of attorney.
    The fees vary, but the lowest response we got was 10,000 Jamaican dollars, which does not include actual registration of the document.
    Legal Wiz

  11. Good day
    I have already been appointed to the power of attorney and having difficulty with the bank with a very important transaction to sort out my house in jamaica.
    It’s a a joint and jointly account, but I have the power to execute transfers and to operate on any bank account all ready opened alone or in joints names on myself and any other person or persons.
    I can withdraw, sign,endorse and negotiate, exchange, dividend and interest and absolute discretion think fit.
    To except transfer of any stock, funds, shares, annuities and other securities which shall or mayst any time solely or jointly.
    Please get back to me as I as I’m now seeking legal advise and to sue the back.

  12. Good morning Ms Sharon Edwards,
    We’d love to assist you. However, your request in unclear. Please email us directly at legalwizwork@yahoo.com. Please send
    a. the copy of the power of attorney document you used
    b. the exact issue you are having
    c. the result you expected as against the result you got

    Please also tell us if the POA document was stamped and registerd.


  13. Good morning,

    My mother is currently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. My brother and I would like to sell the house in order to pay for her nursing going forward from now. I would also like to apply for a power of attorney to sign on her behalf. My concern is when I have received the POA can I sign on her behalf as it relates to selling the home? Thanks

  14. Dear Kristal,

    If your mother is able to sign, then her desire should be outlined in the power of attorney instrument.

    Otherwise you will have to apply for powers to act on her behalf through the courts.

    Thanks for writing in.

  15. Hello,

    I am looking to start a business in Jamaica with my father who is from another CARICOM island. The business will be in both of our names. I am currently studying in Jamaica and would like to start the process of registering the business, opening a business bank account, leasing property etc.

    I would like to be able to sign all of the necessary documents on his behalf to get the business up and running. Will the Administrator General accept a power of attorney that is signed and notarized in another island to take effect in Jamaica?

  16. Hi Christina,
    Thanks for writing in.
    Your concerns are unclear. Who will physically be in Jamaica to register the business? Is it a business or a company that you will be operating? What exactly are you doing at the Administrator General office. The document should be registered at the Registrar General Department. Please send an email.
    Legal wiz

  17. If I execute a power of attorney in the United States for someone in Jamaica to handle my affairs is this document acceptable in Jamaica?

  18. Hi Dotlyn,
    Its recommended that you ask an attorney in Jamaica to review the document. On the other hand for it to work here, it needs to be properly registered here.
    Legal wiz

  19. Jamaican cases that speak to the revocation of a power of attorney in that is it revoked once another one is registered.

  20. Dear Indira,
    Please be a bit clearer. Original power of attorney documents are not always revoked by newer ones. It all comes down to the wordings. So please feel free to speak with an attorney-at-law if it is that you need to revoke someone’s power of attorney in Jamaican jurisdiction.
    Legal Wiz

  21. Good day. If I execute a power of attorney in the U.S. for someone in jamaica to handle my affairs is this document acceptable in Jamaica?
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

  22. Dear Thelma,
    That power of attorney should be also registered in Jamaica to operate here. Or else do an additional one to be registered in Jamaica.
    Legal wiz

  23. Hello, I am in US and my father who is a US citizen is visiting Jamaica (MoBay)and he had a stroke and is unable to communicate nor make decisions. If he does not have an POA who is able to make decisions on his behalf?

  24. Hi Patsy,
    Assuming you have a medical certificate to prove your claim, you should take the matter to court for an order to be your dad’s guardian.
    Legal wiz

  25. I live in the UK and have a Residency and Property Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for both of my parents. They also live in the UK and have property and financial assets in Jamaica. Will my LPA be recognised in Jamaica?

  26. I love it! Excellent article. You touched on a topical issue. I would appreciate if you’d written about how to fill a form online. I just filled out USCIS I-9 with an online software. It looked much better typed than hand-written.

  27. @ Dev:

    Dear Dev,
    Thanks for writing in. The person giving power should sign the document. This must be done before a Justice of peace or Notary public who will then seal the document to make it authentic.
    Write again!

  28. Good day,
    My father recently passed away and in his Will I am the Executor. My cousin, who lives in Jamaica, WI, is mentioned in the Will. So everyone who is mentioned in the Will has to sign a Waiver to consent to Probate. I live in the US. My cousin is having trouble getting the waiver notarized in JA. I wanted to know if there is a way that I can apply to be his POA from in the US where I am? Therefore I’d be his agent and he would be the principal. Or does my cousin have to apply for me to be his POA, in Jamaica? If I could be his POA it would help expedite the probate process. He can not read very well and I would make sure that I would do all on his behalf moving forward with the Probate process and carrying through my fathers wishes.
    Please advise…Thank you.

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