Table of Contents
Power of Attorney: What is it?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document signed by a person or a party that gives a right to their legal representative to act on their behalf. It creates a principal-legal relationship between the two parties and the acts of the representative done legally on the basis of the Power of Attorney would be binding on the principal.
It is particularly beneficial for NRIs staying abroad who do not wish to travel to India to manage their property, appear before courts in civil cases, buy insurance, file taxes, and so on. There are three types of Power of Attorney that can be provided to your legal representative based on the purpose for which it is provided.
Special Power of Attorney
The powers in this kind of POA are granted to the legal representative for a specific purpose. Once the specific task is completed, the power may cease to exist depending on the nature of the task. For example, if the POA is given for the selling of 1 flat owned by the NRI, the power ceases to exist once the sale of the flat is completed.
General Power of Attorney
A General POA gives broad-ranging powers to the attorney to make decisions on behalf of the principal. These can include handling financial transactions, insurance purchases, filing of taxes, purchasing, and selling a property, and more. This POA is beneficial in cases where the NRI has settled abroad and needs a person to manage all their transactions in India.
Durable Power of Attorney
This POA remains valid for the lifetime of the principal unless it is annulled by the principal. It can include a clause to remain in force even if the principal suffers from mental illness, or mental or physical incapacity. Such a POA is usually executed only by a trusted legal representative since it grants wide-ranging powers for a long period of time.
Details to include in the Power of Attorney Deed
- Details of the Grantor – The name, age, foreign address, Indian address, and occupation of the person making the deed.
- Details of the Attorney – The name, age, address, father’s name, and occupation of the person in whose favour the deed has been made
- Reason for the Power of Attorney – The reason for the POA and the type of the POA must be mentioned.
- Date of Commencement of the POA
- Signature of the grantor on all the pages
How to execute a valid Power of Attorney when abroad
The Power of Attorney is to include all the details and be duly notarized in the country of residence of the person living abroad. The document must be signed and witnessed by two individuals (with their names and addresses clearly mentioned).
For NRIs and OCIs
The duly notarized and signed POA is attested by the Indian Embassy in the country of residence for NRIs and OCIs. It is then sent to the Indian Embassy for attestation.
Process in India
Once the attestation by the embassy for NRIs and OCIs is complete, the document is to be sent to India by postal mail. This document should be registered in India by the person to whom the POA is assigned in the Sub-Registrar’s office in India.
How can an Indian lawyer/law firm assist you in the process?
- An Indian lawyer can validate the contents of the POA and assist you with the drafting at the initial stage to ensure its validity. The lawyer will also advice you as to the scope of the POA to ensure that it is not misused.
- There are a number of full-service law firms in India that perform the tasks of property management, wealth management, tax filings and other tasks which can be delegated using the POA.
- The process of registration of the POA in India can be carried out by the POA holder with the assistance of an Indian lawyer.