If you have a business in the Philippines, it’s important to ensure that it is always protected, even when you are traveling or unable to make decisions in person. A Special Power of Attorney (SPA) is a document that enables an appointed person to make decisions on your behalf. You may have heard of the term “Power of Attorney”, and it’s the same concept in many countries. An SPA can also help individuals with their personal affairs; you can use it for more than commercial purposes.
Many people will move overseas, but still try to purchase homes or land in the Philippines. Instead of traveling all the way to sign the documents, your SPA can do this on your behalf, at your request. You can also use it to help file taxes, take out loans, enter contracts, even request birth and death certificates. Before you’re able to use an SPA in the Philippines, make sure you put it through the process called legalization!
Who can be an SPA?
There are very few limitations when it comes to deciding who your SPA is going to be. It simply has to be someone who is of legal age. It is almost certainly going to be someone that you know and trust, to ensure they enact your wishes as intended. It can be a family member or friend, or a lawyer.
What makes a Special Power of Attorney legitimate?
In order for an SPA to be eligible, you must notarize it by a notary public. Legalization Service Centre is able to validate this document! Sometimes you also need to translate your Special Power of Attorney (into languages other than English or French), and in that case, the translation also needs to be certified. Don’t worry if you need an SPA signed for the Philippines while not living there! You can sign abroad and it will still hold the same power.
We strongly recommend that you create an SPA with the support of an experienced lawyer. Understandably, you may encounter potential risks by signing over your decision-making power to another person. Thus, you want to make sure you have protection in this event, should it ever pass. We also recommend working with your representative to make sure they have protection too. As well as making sure you’re not inadvertently putting them in a risky position.
Getting a Special Power of Attorney for the Philippines
The process for obtaining a Special Power of Attorney is very simple and easy to follow. First, you need to find an SPA template that works for you and your circumstances. There are a number of free options online, and it is strongly recommended that you take one of the options found on the website for the Embassy of the Philippines, Ottawa, Canada. If you need something specific, you may want to draft this with a lawyer to ensure it protects all parties as intended.
Then you need to print your SPA document out, and make sure that you have multiple copies (at least 4). This ensures that all parties have a signed copy of the SPA, and are aware of what it entails. All parties involved must sign these documents in front of a lawyer.
Before Legalization of the SPA
Now you need to notarize these documents!. This can be done easily through the Legalization Service Centre Canada. All you need is a copy of all of the documents. You can send your documents via post or courier for your convenience – no need to come in person. Once we have processed all the relevant documents, we will move onto the next step of the process.
You should always keep a copy of your SPA to refer to, and you should hand another to your representative. They now have the power to act on your behalf, within the limitations set out in the SPA. The process is simple and easy, designed for efficiency and ease. You do not have to travel, and wait times are short when using proper channels such as the Legalization Service Centre. This is great for those who are living outside of Ottawa.
The Authentication and Legalization of a Special Power of Attorney
Before you can use your Special Power of Attorney in the Philippines, it’s necessary for you to authenticate and legalize it too. Otherwise, your POA will not be valid in the Philippines. While you may complete these processes on your own, this approach can prove to be time and money-consuming. For one thing, authentication happens at Global Affairs Canada, whose office is located in Ottawa. It can take up to several months for GAC to review and authenticate your document! Since we’re an established service provider and have been in practice for many years, our internal knowledge allows for more timeline options. Moreover, we skillfully review all the documents we submit to omit errors and omissions which could otherwise make your process longer and more expensive.
At Legalization Service Centre, our agents also keep track of changes and requirement updates at individual embassies. This means that we always have the most current and accurate information regarding the Philippine embassy’s legalization process for POAs (and SPOAs).
Limitations of an SPA
An SPA does not give someone total power and control over your affairs. In fact, it’s limited to exactly what is defined in the SPA. This ensures your representative does not go above and beyond what you have requested, and it allows you to maintain overall control of your circumstances. Because there is risk involved with giving someone power of attorney, it’s important to ensure that you have a lawyer to check over the document before it is signed. This will prevent any unwanted situations from occurring.
If you are creating an SPA for the purpose of dealing with property, it’s important to remember that your representative is limited in what they can do. If your SPA is for selling property, your representative cannot get a mortgage for your property. Conversely if the SPA is for mortgaging, your representative cannot sell on your behalf.
Special Power of Attorneys are not permanent
It’s important to remember that an SPA is only valid for one year after signing. As they are intended for creation for a specific task, you will need to get a new one if you require ongoing representation back home.
Need help getting a Special Power of Attorney for the Philippines?
Although the process of getting a Special Power of Attorney for the Philippines is not hard, it can be daunting for people who have never had one before. If you get it wrong, the consequences can be time consuming as you have to go through the process again.
If you are unsure of what you need, we recommend getting in touch with our friendly team for support. You can contact us for a free consultation – simply fill in the box on the right-hand side of the page with as much information as you have. Someone will review your request, and get in touch with the information that you need.
Image Credit: The Mayon Volcano. Photo by Mr. Carlos Esguerra.