Be cautious when granting power of attorney

YAP speaks to the woman who seeks assistance.

KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) urged the general public to exert caution before granting someone a power of attorney (POA).

“Before signing any POA, the public is advised to seek independent legal advice about its legal effect and implications. This is because a POA is extremely dangerous in the wrong hands,” said SUPP PCB chief Wilfred Yap in a statement today.

He said it was best to avoid giving a POA to someone with a poor history of money management, a history of dishonest conduct, financial problems, or other traits that make him or her unsuitable to serve in a primarily financial or fiduciary position.

“A POA is a legal document that gives another person (agent) the right to make certain decisions on his or her behalf and that there are risks involved.

“This is because it is very difficult for the giver of the POA to hold the agent accountable for wrongful conduct after giving them such powers,” he explained.

Yap, who is also SUPP Kota Sentosa Branch chairman, added that there was also little oversight with a POA since it is contractual in nature.

“It is up to the person who signed the POA to make sure it is used for his or her benefit and not in any way that deprives him or her of money or property wrongfully,” he said.

He was recently approached by a woman seeking advice on the legal implications of granting a POA.

The woman had earlier granted a POA to another individual who had entered into a tenancy agreement on her behalf, and there was now a dispute on the rental collected.

SUPP PCB is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone facing problems or who have come across problems of public interest but are unsure of how to deal with them.

Anyone requiring assistance can always contact SUPP PCB’s at 016-7797688 or 082-246999 or directly visit the SUPP Head Office to request for assistance.