Power of Attorney – Your Questions Answered
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
Simply put, a Power of Attorney is a written, legal authorisation to represent someone or act on someone else’s behalf in private affairs, business and other financial matters.
A Power of Attorney can handle a broad scope of matters depending on the particular person’s requirements. In real estate, a Power of Attorney is often used when one or both the parties are unavailable and they need someone to represent them to finalise the property transaction on their behalf. It is often the most practical way of getting documents signed so that they don’t have the expense or inconvenience of having to take care of everything personally.
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A Power of Attorney can be a very useful legal instrument, particularly for overseas property transactions, provided that it is used in the correct manner and given to the right person.
Who Can Issue A Power Of Attorney & Who Can Act As A Power Of Attorney?
Anyone can give Power of Attorney to someone else provided they are of the required legal age and of the requisite mental capacity. Similarly, anyone can be appointed as Power of Attorney provided they meet these requirements and have the legal capacity to do what is required.
Are There Risks Involved When Appointing Someone As Power Of Attorney?
Appointing someone as your legal representative does of course involve an element of risk and obviously a great deal of trust is required when choosing a Power of Attorney. Whoever you instruct as your Power of Attorney becomes you in a legal sense. You are giving that person the right to act for you in a way that you could yourself if you were present. He/she can make certain decisions which are legally binding on you.
For these reasons, it is always important to make sure that you are comfortable with the terms included in the Power of Attorney document and also that you are comfortable that the person who you are giving Power of Attorney to is reliable, trustworthy and has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to act on your behalf. Do not take short-cuts or simply appoint someone as Power of Attorney because they are cheaper as this is certainly not the best way to ensure that your interests are protected fully.
That being said, there are provisions and regulations in place that safeguard you when appointing a Power of Attorney in Dubai, to which I will touch upon next.
Are All Power Of Attorney Documents The Same?
No – there are various types of Power of Attorney but they usually fall into two main categories – General or Special. General Power of Attorneys give the agent broad powers to act whereas Special Power of Attorneys are more specific, either being limited to a specific transaction or limited in terms of time. Normally a Special Power of Attorney will be enough to complete the required task whilst also offering less risk to the person giving the power.
What Can A Power Of Attorney Do? How Am I Protected When Giving Power Of Attorney?
You decide what your Power of Attorney can do. Your Power of Attorney can only do what you authorise them to do as per the provisions of the particular Power of Attorney document. In order to take effect, the Power of Attorney also has to be signed in front of a Notary Public or practising lawyer and it has to be fully certified and attested legally by the relevant government authorities (see below).
A Power of Attorney document may be broad or specific in terms of scope but this is regulated by the Dubai Land Department depending on the type of activity required. Examples are noted below…
A Power of Attorney for the purchase of a property in Dubai can be general and allows the person receiving the Power of Attorney to purchase more than one property on the other person’s behalf.
Whilst being general, this does not mean that the agent can do anything they wish. They are still limited by what is included in the Power of Attorney document. There are also certain regulations in Dubai. For example, a Power of Attorney is not able to open bank accounts nor can they apply for a mortgage on a buyer’s behalf. A general Power of Attorney is therefore not necessarily an all encompassing document when it comes to purchasing properties.
A Power of Attorney document for selling a property in Dubai must be specific to the particular property and must mention the property details as per the Title Deed. This includes the unit number, building name, plot number and community etc.
This measure safeguards a seller’s interests as it means that the chosen Power of Attorney only has authority to conduct the sale of that particular property only. It is not a general power for all properties. The Dubai Land Department also take the original Power of Attorney document on the day of sale so this too protects you after the sale.
Important Things To Remember!
It is also important to add that a Power of Attorney cannot receive any sale funds in their name. The Dubai Land Department requires that the funds following the sale of a property in Dubai must be made by a manager’s cheque (similar to a UK banker’s draft) and can only be payable to the owner(s) name as stated on the Title Deed.
These measures have been implemented to provide greater protection to property owners when selling properties in Dubai. They are significant steps forward to ensure that all owners are safeguarded under the law.
It is also worthwhile to point out that the Dubai Land Department no longer allows anyone working for a real estate company (regardless of their designation) from acting as Power of Attorney for the sale/purchase of a property in Dubai. This too is an important regulation that prevents a conflict of interests between brokers/Power of Attorneys and will provide more protection for property investors all round.
How Long Does A Power Of Attorney Last?
This depends on the type of Power of Attorney granted. A Power of Attorney may be limited to a specific transaction or may state an expiration date after which its powers are no longer valid. Generally speaking, a Power of Attorney continues in effect until it is revoked or expires according to its terms.
The duration of a particular Power of Attorney also depends on the laws of the country in which the power is being used.
In Dubai property related matters, a Power of Attorney document is valid for a two year period for selling and a five year period for purchasing properties.
Can An Expired Power of Attorney Be Re-Issued or Re-Validated?
This depends on where the Power of Attorney was originally issued. If the Power of Attorney document was issued in the UAE at the Dubai Notary Public, it can be renewed/re-issued for a nominal fee (approx. AED 300). Either the grantor or grantee will need to attend the Notary in person to re-validate the Power of Attorney document. This can be completed with either the original Power of Attorney or a copy.
Can A Power Of Attorney Be Revoked?
Yes – a Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time. The person revoking the Power of Attorney would simply need to notify the agent in writing that he/she wishes to revoke the power, obtain the original POA document (and all copies) and file a written revocation at the office where the original Power of Attorney document was signed/issued.
What Is The Process For Issuing A Power Of Attorney For Use In Dubai?
The process for issuing a Power of Attorney for use in Dubai is quite straightforward but it is important to make sure this is carried out by someone who is qualified and experienced.
In order to be valid, the Power of Attorney document must be signed and notarised by a Notary Public before being legalised and attested by the UAE Embassy (or equivalent) in the country where the grantor is based.
In Dubai, the Power of Attorney document can be attested in less than one hour at the Notary Public. Alternatively, if the person giving the Power of Attorney is out of the country, the Power of Attorney document can be legalised in whichever country they are based. This process normally takes between 5-14 days depending on the specific country where it is to be legalised. Once the Power of Attorney is legalised overseas, it would also need to be attested at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fees for this are approx. AED 160 for a personal / individual Power of Attorney and AED 2000 for a corporate document.
Benefits Of Giving Power Of Attorney?
By giving Power of Attorney to a trusted and qualified representative, you do not have to be present in Dubai at all. That person can take care of everything on your behalf regardless of where you are located.
Appointing a Power of Attorney will save you significant time, money and inconvenience than doing everything yourself. Flights, hotel bills, time off work etc are all reasons why people use Power of Attorneys to represent their property interests in Dubai.
Others do not want the stress or hassle of visiting the various offices to do the processes directly. Many owners do not know the procedures involved or are not properly represented by their real estate agents who are often more focused on their next sale than completing the transfer properly.
If this sounds familiar, then appointing a Power of Attorney in Dubai may work for you. You will have one point of contact who is 100% focused on your interests rather than making sales/commissions. Any good Power of Attorney should also be able to guide you through the necessary processes and steps involved as well as providing advice, updates, and feedback at each stage of the process.
Giving someone Power of Attorney is however not a decision to be taken lightly so my advice would be to do your homework and make sure you are 100% satisfied before proceeding. Make sure you understand what you are giving away and that you are happy to do so.
There are great benefits to be had by appointing a Power of Attorney but always proceed with caution and only use someone who is experienced and qualified to act in the capacity that you require.
Power of Attorney Update 2017
As you may recall from the article below, a Power of Attorney document for use in Dubai can of course be either general or special depending on what is required and what purpose the POA is to be used for.A general Power of Attorney can cover a very wide range of activities including buying any properties, taking handover/possession of properties from developers, signing rental contracts, property management, registering/paying utility bills, managing companies and other such assets. The person receiving the POA has fairly general powers granted by the POA.A special POA is limited in terms of time and scope, with the specifics being outlined in the particular POA document and the recipient only being granted certain authority to act and for a certain period of time/activity. Something which we do come across regularly at Your POA Dubai are requests from clients for general POA preparation to include all of the general terms and provisions detailed above but also the wish to include the power to sell their property or properties as well. In Dubai, this is not possible in most cases. A POA for selling cannot be general. A POA for selling must be specific to the property and the original Title Deed (or true stamped copy if mortgaged) must be presented when signing at the Notary Public. This is an important point to follow. BUT there are exceptions… (1) A POA for selling cannot be general when it is to be signed/issued in Dubai (for the reasons noted) however it is possible to prepare and attest a general POA to include selling if the legalization is being carried out overseas. In such instances, it is not a requirement to present the Title Deed on signing/attesting the POA and so many individuals get around the system but simply carrying out the formalities outside of Dubai. (2) A POA being signing in Dubai can be general for selling purposes if the POA is being granted to a direct family member. The Dubai Notary will allow this and will stamp the POA if evidence can be provided to show this direct relationship (i.e.) birth or marriage certificates. So there you have it. Hopefully this will make things a little easier when you go to appoint a POA for use in Dubai. If you have any further questions or need any support with this at all, please get in touch.
[NB the author of the above article is a LLB Bachelor of Laws graduate from the UK and is the Managing Partner and in-house Power of Attorney for Your POA – Dubai (www.yourpoadubai.com)]. Your POA specialise in representing national and international clients as Power of Attorney in Dubai.