What is a Power of Attorney?

It is an instrument or document which authorizes a person to act for another person as his agent. The person who donates the power is called the “donor” (Principal) while the other person to whom it is donated is called the “donee” (Attorney). The main aim of a Power of Attorney is to satisfy third parties that the agent has the authority of the donor to deal on a subject matter.

Such acts may include representing one in court, receiving or suing for rates and rents or helping to transfer title in a property. A power of attorney does not in itself transfer ownership to the donee rather it is a vehicle by which ownership may be transferred to a 3rd party. For instance, if I donate to Mary a power of attorney to sell my house in New york,
I do not transfer the ownership of my property to Mary, but Mary on the other hand can transfer ownership of that property to anybody else.

The choice of a power of attorney may arise if the principal is unavailable, ill or whenever the expert skill of the donee is required. The power may be general or specific. It is general where the powers are broadly provided to cover issues pertaining to the subject matter, while it is specific, where the power is given in respect of a particular act.

A power of attorney to be valid must be; written, signed by the donor, sealed (when necessary) , witnessed and registered (also when necessary). A power of attorney may also be revoked at any time by the Donor except in particular circumstances, especially where it was given in consideration for an act.

A specimen for a power of attorney can be seen below:

BY THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY made this 17th day of August, 2012, I Frank White Monday of Legal Naija appoint Mary Jane of Ikoyi to be my Attorney in my name and on my behalf to do the following;

1. To sell my house in New York.
2. To collect rents from my house in Ikoyi.
3. To represent me in any legal action that may arise as a result of the above
mentioned duties.

IN WITNESS of which the said Mr. Frank White Monday has in this instrument set my hand and seal the day and year written above.

by the above named Mr. Adedunmde Onibokun

In the presence of (Name, address and signature)