What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a mandate in which a person appoints another person as his or her representative for the administration of his or her assets or for any other matter. This is very useful, for example, when a person is out of PR but needs to make arrangements for an inheritance or to buy or sell a property, or for any other matter.
What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and an Affidavit?
In general, both documents are sworn before a notary but the Power of Attorney is more rigorous. The Power of Attorney is similar to an affidavit but in the form of a deed, that is, in legal size, with more formalities and greater acceptance.
Some transactions, such as those related to real property, for example, the purchase and sale of a house, require only a Power of Attorney. On the other hand, a transfer of a motor vehicle, for example, could be done through an affidavit.
How long can a Power of Attorney last?
Depends. A General Power of Attorney usually has no expiration date. However, a Special Power of Attorney expires at the end of the particular transaction that was delegated, for example, a sale or purchase. On the other hand, if it is a Durable Power of Attorney, it will remain in force until the person who authorized the Power of Attorney (the "principal") dies or revokes it.
In general, any Power of Attorney may be terminated by: (1) its revocation; or, (2) the resignation of the attorney-in-fact (i.e., the agent); or, (3) death, bankruptcy, or insolvency of the principal or the attorney-in-fact; or, (4) the principal's inability to manage his or her property (unless a Durable Power of Attorney has been granted).
What is "Durable Power of Attorney"?
The Durable Power of Attorney is a very useful instrument in which an authorization is granted that will remain valid even if the person later becomes mentally incapacitated. In this case, a person in a lucid state may grant a Durable Power of Attorney in favor of one or more trusted representatives.
It should be noted that the Durable Power of Attorney will remain valid even if the person subsequently loses his or her mental capacity. This is very useful as it will allow the continuation of the administration of his or her assets.
One of the great advantages of the Durable Power of Attorney is that it avoids having to go to court to apply for a declaration of incapacity and appointment of a guardian in case the person develops a mental illness such as Alzheimer's disease. This would be necessary if the person has property that needs to be sold, for example, either alone or jointly with a spouse or family. It is important to remember the regulation that in order for a person to dispose of their property they must have mental capacity, unless, by exception, they have previously granted a Durable Power of Attorney.
For the Durable Power of Attorney it is required to include the details of the real estate properties (apartments, houses, farms, etc.) registered in the name of the applicant. Therefore, if you have a copy of the deed, it will be necessary to include it at the end of the Form below. In this way, we will be able to corroborate the ownership in the Property Registry as part of the work to be done.
Who should sign the Power of Attorney?
Only the "principal" is obliged to sign it. In other words, the representative or attorney-in-fact does not have to sign the Power of Attorney, but obviously he/she must be aware that the document will be prepared with his/her name on it.
For this reason, we request a copy of the identification of both (principal and representative), which can be a driver's license or passport. This way we make sure that the names to be included in the Power of Attorney are exactly as they appear on their respective IDs.
We can prepare a deed for one of the following types of Power of Attorney: General, Special or Durable. If you are in the metropolitan area, we can do the process at your home. If you are outside of Puerto Rico, we can do the entire process online. Occasionally, we can also act as your designated representative to process, for example, transactions related to the purchase and sale of a property.