Power of Attorney is a document or instrument, which authorizes or appoints a person to legally act and administer affairs on behalf of another. The parties in a Power of Attorney are referred to as Donor/Principal (the party who donates power to another) and a Donee or Agent (the party whose power is donated to). Power of Attorney (POA) can be granted by individuals and Corporations to an agent to perform functions, such as instituting an action in court, managing property, signing documents or receiving rents etc.

The words contained in a POA must be construed for the Donor to know exactly the power he wants to confer on another and what the limit of the power would be. A POA must be drafted to reflect the true intention of the Donor.

Revocation of a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney can be made orally or expressly stated in writing by a letter of appointment. Usually, POA must have an expiry date contained in the agreement; the Donor can revoke it, expressly, impliedly or by the operation of the law.   

The modes of revoking a Power of Attorney

  • Express Revocation: in this case, the revocation is communicated, usually in writing, that the powers have been revoked. The form of an express revocation will depend on how the Power of Attorney was created. If it was created by a deed, then the revocation must also be done by deed. If it was created orally, then it will be revoked orally.
  • Implied Revocation: An implied revocation will arise from the actions of the Donor/Agent. Where the donor gives a Power of Attorney to a donee and then still goes ahead to deal with the subject matter contained in the Power of Attorney in a way that makes it impossible for the Donee to exercise his authority under the POA.
  • The fact of the donor giving a Power of Attorney does not extinguish his right to do the same act the agent can do or do with his property what he wishes. For instance, where a landowner gives a Power of Attorney to an agent to sell their land and then goes ahead to sell the land himself before the agent does so, it can be implied that the Power of Attorney has been revoked.
  • By Operation of Law: this simply means that the law provides certain circumstances that automatically revoke a Power of Attorney. If the donor/principal dies, becomes insane, bankrupt, or suffers any other legal incapacity while the Power of Attorney is still valid, then those situations will revoke the Power of Attorney.

Power of Attorney can also be irrevocable where it is given for consideration. It cannot be affected by bankruptcy, insanity, death or lunacy until the consideration is extinguished. If it is granted for a defined period, it remains irrevocable until the period expires.  

Types of Power of Attorney

There are two (2) types of POA which are determined by the amount of power granted by the principal to an agent.

  • General Power of Attorney: this type of POA when created confers legal authority on another to take unlimited decisions of all activities of the Donor.
  • Specific Power of Attorney: this type of POA grants legal authority to an agent for specific matters. For example to sell a property handle bank accounts or sign documents etc.

Cost of Power of Attorney

Generally, the power of attorney in Nigeria does not have a fixed cost. It is all subject to the extent or contents to be contained in it. It is also subject to the experience of lawyers hired to draft the POA. The charges of one lawyer differ from another. An individual seeking to get a POA can contact any nearby professional lawyer or contact lawyers via online for a quotation.

In conclusion, the power of attorney in Nigeria is an instrument that grants legal authority to another to act on his behalf for a certain purpose. It is important to bear in mind that only persons in law (those that can sue and be sued) can be granted power of attorney. Above all, it is generally advised that a professional lawyer should be conducted for advisory and drafting of a POA.

By Resolution Law Firm


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