Power of Attorney in Singapore: Types and Usages

Last updated on January 1, 2019

A Power of Attorney (POA) is an instrument created by a person who appoints another person to act on his behalf. The creator of the POA is called the donor, while the person appointed to act on the donor’s behalf is called the donee.

There are a few types of POAs with differing features, as described below. POAs are used in a wide variety of transactions. For instance, a trustee may be able to delegate his administrative powers via a power of attorney onto a donee. The POA document can stipulate the powers conferred onto the donee, as well as the limitations on this power.

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

Do You Need a Lawyer to Create a Power of Attorney?

As the creation of a POA entails legal procedure and issues of law, one is advised to engage a lawyer in its drafting and signing.

General Power of Attorney

The general POA gives the donee authority to act on behalf of the donor in all circumstances unless the POA document itself restricts the power of the donee in certain situations. A general POA can confer various powers, which includes accessing bank safe deposit boxes, buying and selling property, collecting debts, contracting on behalf of the donor, and filing tax returns, to name a few examples.

General POAs are usually valid until revoked by the donor, upon the death or incapacity of the donor, or upon an event specified in the POA document.

Specific Power of Attorney or Non-Durable Power of Attorney

Specific POAs confer authority over specified matters. The donee can only act on behalf of the donor in those specified matters.

Specific POAs are usually valid until revoked by the donor, upon the death or incapacity of the donor, or upon an event specified in the POA document.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows a person who is 21 years of age or older to plan how his affairs are to be managed should he lose his mental capacity.

In the LPA, the donor appoints one or more donees to act and make decisions on his behalf in the event of a loss of mental capacity. The donee is given the authority to make decisions about the donor’s personal welfare and/or property and financial matters. Read more about the reasons for making an LPA in our other article.

A certificate issuer needs to certify the LPA form. This is to certify that the donor understands the purpose and consequences of the LPA. It also ensures that there is no fraud or undue pressure used to induce the you to create an LPA.

The certificate issuer can either be a practising lawyer, a psychiatrist, or an accredited medical practitioner. The certificate issuer will generally charge a fee for certification. We can help you find a lawyer here.

HDB Power of Attorney

The most common type of POA in Singapore is the HDB POA. A HDB POA is necessary when a homebuyer cannot attend the appointment to collect his keys. More commonly, it is used in the signing of the legal documents where a party cannot personally attend to the signing. These documents include:

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

HDB POAs are commonly used where a party resides abroad and cannot personally sign the documents in Singapore, in which case he appoints an attorney to act on his behalf.

A lawyer will have to be engaged to prepare a POA. The HDB POA will spell out the powers conferred upon the attorney, such as the power to sell, execute documents, or refund monies to the CPF Board. Read more about the HDB POA here.

Springing Power of Attorney

Also called a conditional POA, a springing POA could be drafted so that it is activated only upon the occurrence of a specific event. For instance, the POA could confer authority on the donee only where the donor is travelling abroad.