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.
[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
ending date (OPTIONAL and depends on type of power of attorney)
terms of appointment
agent’s signature (OPTIONAL)
signature of notary public or justice of peace
FEES TO REGISTER POWER-OF-ATTORNEY IN JAMAICA
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.
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 clients.
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