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When You Need a Power of Attorney in UAE

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A power of attorney is a legal tender or document that is signed by a person (often called the ‘principal’) authorizing someone else (called the ‘agent’ or ‘attorney-in-fact’) to act on behalf of a principal in front of third parties.

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What is a Power of Attorney

Giving a Power of Attorney depends on how much power the attorney has, the agent can be anybody from a relative, to a partner, friend, employer or a lawyer.

  • The Power of Attorney is needed in special circumstances for a person above the age of 18. For example, military personnel deployed overseas who needs someone to act on their behalf while away.
  • Younger people who do a lot of traveling may also require Power of Attorney stand in to handle their affairs, especially if they do not have a spouse to do that. The most common way a POA can be established is if someone is returned, or face a serious, long-term health problem that cannot be easily transferred.

A power of attorney is used mainly as advice to ensure that directives are carried out in your best interest.

If you can no longer act on your own due to physical or mental incapacity, financial decisions may be delegated to an agent to ensure your well-being. Some of these decisions include paying the bills, selling assets so medical expenses can be paid for. A power of attorney details the scope and extent of what an agent is expected to do.

The Different Types of Powers of Attorney

It is commonplace in the UAE for individuals or principals to grant powers of attorney to a trusted person (also known as agents) to carry transactions on their behalf. In the UAE, two types of power of attorney can be found:

  1. General power of attorney
  2. Special power of attorney 

A General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is used in the UAE when a principal requires that an agent carries out any/or all of the following actions:

  • Purchase and manage real estate
  • Represent principal before government departments, ministry, utility, and telecom providers
  • Incorporate legal entities
  • Purchase shares in legal entities
  • Purchase vehicles and essential items
  • Sign contracts and other documents
  • Represent the principal in legal issues and hire lawyers

Clearly drafted powers of attorney with the listed powers are typically accepted by third parties and government departments in the UAE.

Special Power of Attorney

In some cases, a third party or a government department relying on a power of attorney may request that the agent provides a special power of attorney that specifies the details of the transactions in which the agent represents the principal. Often, these types of cases include:

  • Sale of real estate property
  • Sales of shares in legal entities
  • Property disputes
  • Sales of vehicles
  • Inheritance matters
  • Consent by a guardian for marriage
  • Consent for travel of minor (a person below 21 years) with a person other than the legal guardian

How Does The Power Of Attorney Work?

The person who needs the Power of Attorney will first choose a person to handle affairs if and when they are incapable of doing so. A POA can be established immediately a person can no longer handle affairs themselves. This goes into effect immediately, so the agent can begin to act as principal.

However, if you ever have to draw up a legally binding contract, the principal’s capacity must be when the document is drawn up. This means this person would be able to understand the terms as stated in the contract.

The POA can be transferred or revoked at any time after the original document has vanished and a new one prepared, or through the preparation of a formal revocation document that informs all concerned parties that the POA is no valid and use should be stopped forthwith.

Since Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, the document must be produced in a bilingual format

How To Sign The Power Of Attorney In The UAE

A power of attorney must be signed in the UAE before a notary public before becoming legally valid and acceptable to third parties and government departments. There are two steps in which a power of attorney can be prepared and signed:

1. Prepare the draft

The draft of the power of attorney is prepared in bilingual format (English and Arabic), or in only Arabic format. The power of attorney must be carefully drafted and include all the necessary powers an agent should exercise on behalf of the principal. Once the power of attorney is prepared, it will then be printed in originals to be signed before a notary public.

2. Sign it before the notary public

In this step, any notary public in UAE will be visited to sign the power of attorney in a process called notarization of the power of attorney. The principal will have to appear in person at the notary public to sign/notarize the power of attorney. The agent does not necessarily have to be there.

Once the principal signs the power of attorney, the notary public will immediately stamp and register one original in the official court records and return two originals to the principal. Once this is done, the agent can now begin to use the power of attorney. This whole process can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the time of the day.

How To Sign a Power Of Attorney Outside The UAE

For a power of attorney to be signed outside the UAE, and be used inside the UAE, the power of attorney must undergo the process of legalization and authentication in the origin country, as well as in the UAE. This follows two stages:

1. Legalization and authentication in the country of origin

These steps will first be carried out outside the UAE before the power of attorney can be brought into the UAE.

  1. The principal will first of all sign the power of attorney before a notary public in the resident country.
  2. Once the power of attorney is signed at the notary public, the ministry of foreign affairs or an equivalent government department in that country would attest to the document.
  3. The UAE Embassy/Consulate in the resident country will finally certify the power of attorney.

2. In the UAE

After stage 1, the power of attorney can then be brought into the UAE for the authentication process to be completed. It follows these steps:

  1. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs must first stamp the power of attorney.
  2. Then it needs to be translated to Arabic by legal translators who are authorized by the ministry of justice to carry out the legal translation.
  3. Once the Arabic translation is done, the UAE Ministry of justice will then certify this translation of the power of attorney.

How To Revoke A Power of Attorney and Replace Your Agent

At any time of your choosing, the power of attorney can be revoked regardless of reason or purpose. To do this, the revocation should be made in writing using a Revocation of Power of Attorney declaration and must be intimated to your attorney-in-fact. A POA Revocation form must be signed before the notary public, and you can decide to notify the agent through the bailiff of the Notary public, or through a registered mail.

If you want to replace an agent or change the content of power of attorney, the old one must first be revoked in writing, to have no legal effect anymore before a new power of attorney can be issued. A power of attorney stops being valid when a principal dies, and other documents like Will and Testament takes its place.

POA : An Essential Legal Document

Every Adult Needs a Power of Attorney

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