FAQ

 
  • Power of Attorney
  • Deedpoll


What is a Power of Attorney (“POA”)?

You can give someone the authority to act for you with a document called a Power of Attorney. If you give a POA, you are called the Donor and the person you give it to is called the Donee

What kinds of things may I authorise the Donee to do?

Many things that people do may be done through a Donee. Example: You may authorise the Donee to:
  • manage your business or financial affairs;
  • collect your debts;
  • invest your money;

When does a POA take effect and how long does it last?

A Power of Attorney can be written to take effect immediately upon signing or contingent upon an event. A Power of Attorney can be written to last either for a limited period of time or indefinitely.

Can a Lasting Power of Attorney be used to allow the Donee to make health care decisions?

Yes.

Is a Lasting Power of Attorney an alternative to a guardianship?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an alternative to guardianship only if it is given before you become mentally incapacitated. To give a Power of Attorney, you must have the mental capacity to understand what you are doing. Once you have lost that capacity, it is too late for you to give a Power of Attorney. At that point, a court will have to appoint a guardian for you, if there is a need.

Are there risks involved in giving someone a Power of Attorney?

If the Donee is not trustworthy, serious problems can result. For example, if the Donee is dishonest and runs away with your money, it may be difficult or impossible to get the money back.

You will ordinarily be bound by your Donee's acts (even unwise acts) and will be responsible for your Donee's negligence while the Donee is acting for you. For example, if the Donee is authorized to manage your financial affairs and signs a contract to purchase something on your behalf, you will ordinarily have to pay for it, like it or not.

It is obviously important to choose a trustworthy Donee. You should also consider carefully which powers to give the Donee.

What rules should govern the Donee’s judgment in making decisions for you?

Your Donee must act in accordance with your wishes as long as you have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. The Donee is required do what he or she believes to be in your best interests.

Can I continue to act independently after giving a Power of Attorney?

Yes. Giving someone a Power of Attorney does not prevent you from making decisions or conducting business for yourself. If you and the Donee disagree, your decision governs. (This assumes the decisions are announced at the same time. If the Donee has decided to sell an item of property and has sold it, your later announcement that you do not want to sell it doesn't undo the sale). If the Donee does not respect your wishes, you should revoke the Power of Attorney.

Can Powers of Attorney be given to more than one Donee at the same time?

Yes. You can give Powers of Attorney to two or more people at the same time, or you can name a second Donee to take over under specified circumstances (such as the death of the first Donee).

But before giving Powers of Attorney to more than one person at the same time, it is worth considering whether confusion or conflict is likely to result. It is probably wise to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages (and ways to address the disadvantages) with a lawyer before giving Powers of Attorney to more than one person.

Must a Power of Attorney be notarized or recorded?

Sometimes. If you want to give an Donee the power to sell land, or to transfer or encumber title to land in some other way, the Power of Attorney must be signed in front of a lawyer, who must note that you signed it voluntarily for the purposes mentioned in it.

If you are using the Power of Attorney for a real estate transaction in Singapore, it must be lodged in the Supreme Court before the property being bought or sold. A copy of the Power of Attorney will be made for the public record, and the original will be returned to the person submitting it.

If no land is going to be dealt with, it is not legally necessary to sign a Power of Attorney in front of a notary or to have it recorded, but notarization may still be wise. Some institutions or individuals may doubt the validity of a Power of Attorney that has not been notarized and may refuse to honor it.

Can a Power of Attorney be canceled?

Yes. This is called revoking the Power of Attorney. To revoke a Power of Attorney, you should give a signed written notice to the Donee and, if possible, to anyone who has been relying on the Power of Attorney

Do I need a lawyer to prepare a Power of Attorney?

There is no legal requirement that a Power of Attorney be prepared or reviewed by a lawyer. However, if you are going to give important powers to the Donee, it is wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form. A person who signs a Power of Attorney without fully understanding what it means, and without considering risks and alternatives, is asking for trouble. If is easy to find a POA template online. However, the creation of a POA entails legal procedure and issues of law, one is advised to engage a lawyer in its drafting and signing.

Will I lose control of the property if I signing a Power of Attorney?

Signing a POA does not deprive you of control over your personal affairs.

Does my spouse automatically have the right act on my behalf without a Power of Attorney?

Your spouse does not automatically have your power of attorney over property that is in your name only.

How long can a POA last?

Under common law, a Power of Attorney can be written to last either for a limited period of time or indefinitely. However, for HDB POA, there is a maximum validity duration of 6 years of the POA under HDB guidelines.

Can I terminate a POA?

As long as you remain competent to manage your own legal affairs, you may terminate any power of attorney that you have previously executed. To the extent possible, you should collect and destroy the original powers of attorney and any copies, so as to avoid confusion or misrepresentation at a later date.

To effectively revoke the POA that is lodged with the Supreme Court, you must lodge a Revocation of Power of Attorney. You must notify HDB (if is a HDB flat) or relevant agencies and the Donee of the revocation.

Clause 3 of HDB POA, it mentioned Joint-Tenancy and Tenancy-In-Common under the heading “Manner of Holding”. What is that?

See

Is a POA the same as my Will?

Your Will is not a POA. Wills are designate the distribute your property after upon.

Can I sue my Donee?

A Donee is responsible only for intentional misconduct. He is usually not faulted for unknowingly doing something wrong. This protection is included in the POA documents to encourage people to act on your behalf as Donee are not customarily compensated and most do it for free.

Should you, a friend, or relative suspect wrongdoing on the part of your Donee, report the suspected abuse to a law enforcement agency and consult a lawyer.

I am now in Singapore. I have a property in China and need to empower someone to act for me. Do I consult a Singapore lawyer or China lawyer to draft the POA?

In this question, if the property in question is situated in China, you must consult a China lawyer to draft the POA.

A power of attorney executed in a foreign country will nevertheless be valid in the jurisdiction in which it is to be used if the requirements of the foreign country have been complied with.

HDB POA – Special Considerations.

HDB Flats
There are generally 3 standard formats of Power of Attorney approved by HDB. They are :-
  1. Sale, Subletting & General Management
  2. Purchase, Subletting & General Management
  3. Subletting & General Management Only
Signing of Power of Attorney
The execution of your Power of Attorney must be done under seal in the presence of a Lawyer in Singapore. If you are executing the Power of Attorney overseas, it must be done before a Notary Public or Singapore Consulate Officer in that particular country. Your lawyer will then deposit a copy of the Power of Attorney at the Registry of the Supreme Court.

After a copy of the Power of Attorney is duly deposited at the Supreme Court, the lawyer will furnish a Letter of Confirmation addressed to HDB that the HDB's prescribed standard format is followed.

Other than a Power of Attorney, is there any document to sign?
Notwithstanding the Power of Attorney, you may be required to personally sign the necessary statutory declaration as required by HDB.

Time-Limit
Under the prescribed form by HDB, a Power Of Attorney can have a maximum validity of 6 years.

Can I revoke the Power of Attorney?
Yes you can. You may do so by executing a Revocation of Power of Attorney. Such revocation must be brought to the attention of the Donee/Attorney and HDB.

Being of Sound Mind. . .

A power of attorney is valid only if you are mentally competent when you sign it and, in some cases, incompetent when it goes into effect. If you think your mental capability may be questioned, have a doctor verify it in writing.

Can Too Many Donees Spoil the Broth?

While you can appoint multiple donees, decide whether these donees must act jointly or separately in making decisions. Multiple donees can ensure more sound decisions, acting as checks and balances against one another. The downside is that multiple donees can disagree and one person's schedule can potentially delay important transactions or signings of legal documents.

If you appoint only one Donee, have a backup. Donee can fall ill, be injured, or somehow be unable to serve when the time comes. A successor done takes over power of attorney duties from the original Donee, if needed.


Are you sure you can do a deed poll in five (5) minutes? How come other law firms need three days?

Yes it’s a very fast and simple process. A deed poll is a standard document where you insert the old name, the new name, the NRIC / Passport number and the address and can usually be done in less than five (5) minutes.
If you want to know why other law firms need three days, please call them.

I am a foreigner. Can I do a deed poll? Is it valid in my country?

Yes. Foreigners can make a Singapore deed poll for Singapore purposes such as blue NRIC, MOM work pass etc.

We have done thousands of deed polls for foreigners from all nations from India, China, Malaysia even as far away as Ghana.

Singapore deed polls are not valid in other countries and if you want to reflect the same name change you have to get a deed poll in your country e.g. A Malaysian must get a Malaysian deed poll to change his name in his Malaysian NRIC / passport.

I lost my NRIC. How?

Bring along your passport or other photo identification document. Then bring the deed poll to ICA when making your replacement NRIC.

What restrictions are there on name change?

You can change to any name you want as long as it is not offensive, vulgar or against public policy. You can add English name, delete Hanyu Pinyin name, change English name, change Chinese Characters, male to female name, change to husband’s surname, anything you want – ALL FOR THE SAME FIXED PRICE.

I'm going to aply for PR / citizenship soon, can I do a deed poll now?

Yes you can do it now and submit with your PR / citizenship application. OR, you can apply PR / citizenship first under your old name and once you get your blue / pink NRIC then you do a deed poll to change it (more troublesome).

I'm converting to Islam / remouncing Islam, can I do a deed poll? Do I need to bring along Islamic certificate?

Yes you can change name or surname to Islamic name or delete Islamic name. You do not need to bring Islamic certificate.

I am divorced / single-parent / my spouse has died. Can I do a deed poll for my child with one parent signing only?

If you are a single mother or your husband has died or you are divorced, we can do a deed poll for your child with only one parent signing, but we suggest you bring the divorce papers or death certificate to ICA as proof.