A Bit More About the Power of Attorney. What to be careful for?*
Whenever I cannot be present at a particular venue at a particular time, say time to conclude the deal I want, to take an official document or to receive payment, I can authorize somebody else to do these things on my behalf and at my expense. By making a letter of attorney, as a grantor, I can authorize a person, who I trust, to represent me in a way that their actions would give rise to legal consequences for me. Through the letter of attorney I grant representative power to my proxy, which means that I grant them the right to represent me and to perform actions on my behalf. (see “Power of Attorney- What do I need This For?”)
1.What can I authorize somebody for?
According to the type of power of attorney, I can authorize somebody to:
- conclude a deal on my behalf (e.g. to buy me a TV on leasing- coming up: “My Rights in a leasing contract”);
- exercise particular rights and obligations (e.g. to pay my rent on my behalf), but only if this obligation is not directly related to me and my personality (e.g. I have been ordered to paint a landscape, hence for this obligation I cannot authorize somebody else to complete it);
- accept notifications, summons (as my lawyer assistant on my behalf to accept the same ones);
- represent me before state authorities;
- represent me before the court – procedural representation
According to the volume:
- any legal actions on my behalf – general power of attorney
- only the expressly stated by me number of concrete deals in the power of attorney (e.g. to sell the fruits from my fruit garden, and afterwards to hire staff to tidy up and cultivate the garden);
- only for one legal action (to sell the purple bike) or just for a definite number of deals (e.g. to buy 20 hockey pucks, each from a different shop) – it is advisable that I make powers of attorney for the performance of specific legal actions, thoroughly listed by me. The general powers of attorney can be dangerous, especially for a future break of the relationship between me and my proxy;
- only for a certain period of time (the time I am on a leave). It is advisable that I make fixed-term powers of attorney (to rent my apartment for 6 months; while I am abroad) – for the period in which the legal actions are to be performed, and which necessitate the creation of a power of attorney. Indefinite-term powers of attorney (those for an indefinite period of time i.e. the proxy can perform the legal actions I have authorized them for until I expressly withdraw the power of attorney). This type of powers of attorney can be dangerous for me, especially if the agent for one reason or another decides to abuse his representative power. That is why it is advisable that my power of attorney is made for a fixed term (to 25/12/13), definite period (6 months) or period not defined in advance, but specifically stated- e.g. until I come back to Sofia;
- For indefinite period of time- termless.
Through an agent I cannot conclude a marriage, cannot divorce or make a will– these actions are of strictly personal character.
I can authorize just one or a number of persons to represent me.
According to the way they represent me, the power of attorney can be:
- independent – when each of the agents has the right to perform the authorized legal actions independently
- together and joint – in which case each of the agents has to agree to have a valid deal, i.e. to jointly conclude deal
2.Form of authorization/power of attorney
The authorization is made in a particular form only if such form is necessary for the performance of the legal action (e.g. written form of guarantee). If the contract has to be concluded in a notarial form (contract for the sale of vehicle or real estate, voluntary partition), the authorization can be made in writing with notarial certification of the signature and the content, completed simultaneously.
- The agent must state expressly or show clearly through their actions the fact that they perform the specific actions as my representor. Otherwise, consequences would arise for them, not for me.
- I am responsible for the actions of the agent, including the non-performance of an obligation, assumed in a contract concluded by them on my behalf.
- The agent has no obligations to perform the specific actions in the power of attorney, this is only their right. They are at my expense, in my interest and within the representative power I have granted the agent. The agent must inform me for the performed action.
- I can, by myself, conclude the deals, which I already have a power of attorney for.
- The actions, which are forbidden to me, are forbidden to my proxy as well.
- Only if I have agreed expressly and in writing about that, the agent can conclude deals with themselves or with another, who they represent as well.
- When exercising rights over real estate, my consent must be in writing in the express power of attorney with notarial certificate of the signature and the content, completed simultaneously. The express power of attorney is necessary for actions with real estate- i.e. sale, substitution, mortgage, transfer, grant.
- The proxy cannot negotiate in my detriment. Such deal does not affect me legally.
4.What happens to the deals which the proxy did not have rights for?
If someone has concluded a deal on my behalf, but was not granted representative power to do so, I can confirm the deal right after I receive knowledge for it. For the confirmation is required the same form as for the authorization of the legal action.
If I do not consent and I do not confirm it, then this deal is a nullity, i.e. it does not give rise to the desired legal consequences (the nullity is established only by court proceedings).
(*) This article aims to outline some of your main rights while it has no claims on being a legal advisor. If you have any difficulties with the execution of these main rights or your case is more complicated, we advise you to consult a legal expert (*)
*This article is from our rubric “Suggest Right”
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§ Obligations and Contracts Act