Power of attorney checklist
MAIN IMAGE: Denoon Sampson, director Denoon Sampson Ndlovu Inc.
Did you know that practically all powers of attorney, received by conveyancers, will not be accepted by the Deeds Office?
Powers of attorney are popular because owners are often not always available to sign further documents whilst they are travelling. So, they appoint a trusted person to legally sign documents in their place.
To ensure that your clients’ power of attorney will be accepted by the Deeds Office, the following is important. In the first place, understand the difference between a special power of attorney and general powers of attorney. The difference between the two is that; whereas special power of attorney must disclose a specifically described immovable property; a general power of attorney would not refer to any specific immovable property. The latter would apply if a person wanted to appoint someone to sign or enter into agreements on his/her behalf.
For more on this topic also read: Powers of attorney … can this expedite the transfer process?
To be accepted by the Deeds Office, the following is required of the power of attorney:
- It must specifically and fully describe the immovable property involved.
- It must be signed in black ink.
- An original of the power of attorney document, signed in “wet” black Ink, must be handed into the deeds office.
- Photocopies, scanned copies and PDF’s will not be accepted.
- Double-sided printing will not be accepted. Only one side of the page may be used and the other side thereof, must be left blank.
- It must reflect the owner’s identity number and his marital status.
- A conveyancer will have to counter-sign the document.
- It must reflect the conveyancer’s “licence to practice” number.
- It cannot be validly signed overseas, unless it was signed in the presence of a SA Consular official, government official or accredited notary public, in terms of Rule 63 of the High Court Rules.
- It has to be signed by two witnesses over the age of 14 years.
- If the owner is married in community of property, the other spouse will have to counter-sign.
- If the owner is married according to the laws of a foreign country, her spouse will also have to counter-sign the power of attorney: also in “wet black ink”.
As you will note there are many technical requirements – which if not complied with – will result in a rejection by the Deeds Office. Recently a financial advisor was surprised that his drafting of a power of attorney would not be accepted by the Deeds Office. The bottom line is that if you want a “watertight” special power of attorney, which will be accepted by the Deeds Office, request a conveyancer to prepare the document.
About the author: Denoon Sampson is a director of Denoon Sampson Ndlovu Incorporated. He has practised insurance litigation and conveyancing. He was also a founder member of Sampson Okes Higgins, which became Denoon Sampson Ndlovu and is a consultant to Standard Bank on its electronic payments and guarantee process.