A power of attorney is a document that indicates that a person has given someone else (usually a close friend or relative) the power to act on his or her behalf. The person to whom this power is given is known as an “agent” or “attorney in fact.”

Managing a power of attorney is a simple process. It can be revoked at any time you want and that revocation is done before a notary. The principal is, commonly, free to revoke the power of attorney at any time, requesting the representative to return the authorized copy of the power of attorney. If the latter refuses, it will be convenient to grant a deed of revocation of the power of attorney, and notify the revocation to the representative through a notary, who has to be different from the one with whom the power of attorney was initially granted.

The electronic signature recognized between notaries makes it possible to send authorized copies of powers of attorney electronically and immediately between different notaries without the need to send the authorized copy on paper. This way, they can save a lot of time in their legal processes.

The so-called Hague Apostille allows the legal validity of a power to be recognized between signatory countries of the Hague Convention (currently, very few countries have not adhered to this treaty). The apostille consists of an annotation on the notarial public document that certifies the authenticity of public documents issued in another country.

What are the agent’s responsibilities? It is the agent’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of all transactions made on behalf of the principal. The “agent” may have decision-making power in many different areas, including the following: properties, financial affairs, checks, withdrawing money from bank accounts, contracts, insurances and legal action. Laws for creating a power of attorney vary from state to state and certain guidelines must be followed.

Although agents agree to manage money and property only for the benefit of the hiring person, they are free to do what they want, so it is important to consider the following before giving a power of attorney:

  • Can you trust that person?
  • Does the person understand your wishes?
  • Is he going to do what you ask for?
  • Will the person contact you when necessary?
  • Does the person have appropriate knowledge of the issues involved?

A Power of Attorney, as a document, may not be considered valid. Here are some ways to avoid problems in the process:

  • Sign the document with several witnesses present
  • Obtain a medical statement confirming the director´s health status

Regarding Abolition and Termination, if the document has not been registered, it can be abolished in various ways, including the following:

  • Through a document written by the principal clearly stating his decision to revoke the power of attorney
  • destroy the document
  • The death of the principal/director

If the document has been registered, it can be terminated by:

  • The termination of the relationship between the principal/director with the agent or attorney
  • The unavailability of an agent or proxy
  • The death of the director
  • Revocation of power by the lawyer

To revoke the power of attorney, the principal must write a statement that includes the following:

  • name and date
  • evidence of health status
  • desire to revoke power
  • the date the original power of attorney was signed
  • the person named as the agent in the act
  • Principal/Director Signature

Before you or a loved one signs any document, consult an attorney.

How long does it last? To protect principals and their assets, each power of attorney has a specified expiration date. Once it expires, the agent will lose the right to handle matters on behalf of the principal. It can also be terminated after the death of a director.

What can’t you do with it? Agents may not sign a marriage certificate or participate in a marriage ceremony on behalf of the principal.

How is a power of attorney created? Although there are many do-it-yourself solutions to creating a power of attorney, most experts believe that hiring an experienced attorney is vital.