POWER OF ATTORNEY. A formal docu ment by which one person is authorised, or empowered, to act for another.
It is commonly used in cases where a person (the donor or grantor) is going abroad for a long time and wishes to give someone (the donee or grantee) power to act for him in his absence. The power given in the document varies according to the wish of the donor, and when a power of attorney is exhibited to a banker for registration he should be careful to observe the exact word ing of the instrument, and in particular to see whether power is given by special clause to draw cheques upon the donor's account, to make, draw, accept and indorse promissory notes and bills, to mortgage securities or overdraw his account. A banker should require that a certified copy of the instrument be given to him.
An attorney may sign the name of the donor without the addition of any further words, but the usual and better way is to sign, e.g.
" John Brown by his attorney Tom Brown." The authority may relate only to one particular act, as, for example, the sale of Consols, or it may give power to act in all matters connected with some particular business, or it may give full power to act in every matter in the same way as though the agent were the grantor himself.
If a " power " is expressed to be irrevo cable for a fixed time not exceeding a year from the making thereof, it cannot be re voked during that time without the donee's consent.
The length of time during which a power is to continue in force should be noted. In a power which was to continue " during absence from England," it was held (Darby v. Coutes, 1885. 29 S. J. 321) that certain mortgages made by the attorney, after the donor's return to England, were invalid.
A power of attorney is determined (that is, is no longer effective) by the death, insanity or bankruptcy of the donor.
By the Conveyancing Act, 1881, Section 47, any person making any payment in good faith, in pursuance of a power of attorney, shall not be liable therefor by reason that, before the payment, the donor of the power had died or become lunatic, of unsound mind, or bankrupt, or had revoked the power, if the fact was not, at the time of payment, known to the person making the same.
Section 46 of the same Act says : " The donee of a power of attorney may, if he thinks fit, execute or do any assurance, instrument, or thing in and with his own name and signature and his own seal, where sealing is required, by the authority of the donor of the power ; and every assurance, instrument, and thing so executed and done shall be as effectual in law, to all intents, as if it had been executed or done by the donee of the power in the name and with the signature and seal of the donor thereof."
The following are some of the points which may be found in a power of attorney : Know all men by these Presents that I, John Brown, of in the county of , gentleman, being about to leave England and to reside abroad for some time, do hereby constitute and appoint my son, Tom Brown, of (hereinafter called and referred to as my said attorney) my true and lawful attorney for the purposes hereinafter expressed, that is to say : To demand, sue for and recover from all persons and bodies liable to pay the same all sums of money, interest, debts, etc., now owing to me, or which shall at any time hereafter be owing to me, and To give, sign, and execute effectual re ceipts, etc., for the same, and on non payment to prosecute any action or suit for recovering the payment thereof ; also To state, settle, adjust, compound, submit to arbitration, and compromise all actions, accounts, claims and demands whatsoever.
And I authorise my said attorney, To apply the moneys which shall come to his hands to pay and satisfy costs and charges which shall be incurred by my said attorney in exercise of any of the powers herein contained, To pay all debts contracted by me or my said attorney on my behalf, To invest any of the said moneys in any securities as he my said attorney shall think fit, and in the meantime to deposit the said moneys with any banker.
To appear for me in any Court, To sign my name to, and make, execute, and do on my behalf any cheques, contracts, deeds or agreements, and for all the purposes of these presents, To use the name of me the said John Brown, And generally to do, execute and perform any other act, deed or thing whatsoever in or about my concerns and business of every kind whatsoever as fully and effectually as I myself could do if I were present, it being my intent and desire that all matters shall be under the full direction of my said attorney.
And whatsoever my attorney shall do or suffer by virtue of these premises, I do hereby for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators covenant with the said Tom Brown, his executors and administrators, to ratify and confirm.
And I declare that this power shall be irrevocable for calendar months, com puted from the date hereof.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day of 19 .
igned, sealed and de livered by the above I