A power of attorney is a contract by which a person designate someone else to represent him or act on his behalf in the performance of a juridical act with a third person.

Mandator and mandatary

The person who grants the power of attorney is called the mandator, and the person who accepts it is called the mandatary.

Power of attorney in writing

A power of attorney can be given verbally or in writing, but it will be easier for you to prove your claims in the event of a dispute if you have something in writing. A written power of attorney will also reassure third parties that the person they are dealing with is your mandatary.

A power of attorney can be a simple document signed privately or a more complex document drawn up with the help of a legal advisor.

It should include:

  • the date and place of signing;
  • the validity period, if applicable;
  • the mandator’s name and contact information;
  • the mandatary’s name and contact information;
  • a description of the responsibilities and powers conferred on the mandatary, along with any restrictions;
  • the deadline for carrying out their duties; and
  • the mandator’s signature.

No witnesses are needed and you are not required to register the document with a notary. Depending on the nature of the legal transaction to be performed, you may need a specific type of power of attorney.

Acceptance of the power of attorney

The mandatary does not need to be present when the power of attorney is drawn up, but they must have accepted responsibility. Acceptance can be:

  • express, that is stated formally; or
  • tacit, where it is not stated formally but can be deduced from the mandatary’s silence or from the actions they take under the power of attorney.

Special power of attorney

A special power of attorney is given for a specific purpose, in which case it must be formally stated. However, if you want someone to act on your behalf in dealings with the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, there is a standard SAAQ power of attorney form you should use.

General power of attorney

A power of attorney can also be general in nature. For example, let’s say you want a friend to manage all of your affairs.

If the power of attorney is worded too broadly, it may limit their powers to simple administrative acts, so they wouldn’t be able to sell your house or car, for instance, without special permission.

General powers of attorney should be used with caution, especially when they grant broad powers to the mandatary.

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