Home / Money / Q&a /  A power of attorney may be made for a limited period of time and is generally revocable

Is it possible for me to create a financial power of attorney (PoA) to give my family members access to my assets such as bank accounts, demat accounts and fixed deposits, if I become incapacitated? How do I create one and is it the same as a general PoA? Is it required to be registered with any authority?

—M. Venkateswaran

PoA is a legal document as per the provisions of the Power of Attorney Act of 1822, under which you can appoint another person as your agent or attorney to act on your behalf. It is possible to issue a PoA with all general or special powers or specific powers to your named attorney for carrying out the work on your behalf as enumerated in the PoA, which may relate to operating bank accounts, investments in specific demat accounts, collecting rent or generally attending to the work which you were doing. The PoA may be made for a limited or indefinite period of time.

The PoA should state if the attorney can sub-delegate the powers delegated to him or her to another person and that the PoA shall be valid even in the event you are incapacitated due to ill health.

However, due to the risks involved in case of misuse of the POA, it is normally executed very sparingly.

PoA is generally revocable. If executed in India, it will require to be executed on a non-judicial stamp paper and notarized, and in a format which is generally acceptable.

However, if it is related to empowering the agent to sell, mortgage and/or deal with an immovable property, then this PoA will be required to be stamped and registered.

My wife acquired some properties by way of partition in 1998 and the properties were mutated to her name and remained in her name till her death in 2018. Her brother and sister sold their shares in 2000 after the partition. However, after my wife passed away, I met with a serious accident and was in trauma due to the disability it caused me. In the meantime, her brother managed to transfer her part in the property in their mother’s name by filing an affidavit that he is the only legal heir. He colluded with local officers and didn’t consult me even though my name is mentioned in my wife’s death certificate. Now, an unregistered will has been executed for the said property. Do I have a claim on the property? What can I do to stake my claim?

—Srinivas G.M.

Based on the limited facts provided and assuming that you are a Hindu and are governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, you become one of the Class I heirs to succeed to the property. Obviously, the facts narrated by you reflect a fraudulent act on the part of your wife’s brother, who in order to deceive the rightful heir (you) of their share in the property have not only forged documents but have carried out certain acts to illegally transfer your wife’s property in their mother’s name.

You may consider filing both criminal and civil complaints in relation to the fraudulent act done by your wife’s brother, as also everyone who has abetted in this fraud. Also, you can challenge the document of transfer by declaring the same to be false and fabricated and void and “non-est" and also to declare yourself to be the successor to your wife’s property.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates. Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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