Skip to main content

Reasons to consider executing a power of attorney prior to emigrating or travelling

Reasons to consider executing a power of attorney prior to emigrating or travelling

January 17, 2024


If you are planning to emigrate or travel for an extended period, it is important to consider signing a power of attorney before you leave. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters. This document can prove to be invaluable in ensuring that your affairs are taken care of while you are abroad.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorises another person to act on your behalf. This includes making decisions and taking actions regarding your finances, property, business, and legal matters. The powers granted to the agent can be broad or limited, depending on your needs. There are two categories of POAs: general and special.

A general power of attorney authorises an agent to make decisions and perform actions on behalf of the principal, including legal and financial matters.

A special power of attorney is used for specific financial or banking transactions, or the sale of a specific property. It is commonly used when the agent needs to carry out a specific act on behalf of the principal, such as signing a sale agreement. The agent’s authority is limited to what is granted in the power of attorney and ceases once the transaction is completed.

A power of attorney is effective only during the lifetime and competency of the person who established it. If the individual becomes incapacitated or passes away, the POA becomes invalid. Unless a specific duration is indicated, a power of attorney usually ends upon the principal’s death, mental incapacity, or insolvency.

Why do I need a power of attorney before emigrating?

Emigrating to another country can mean being away for an extended period. During this time, there may be important legal or financial matters that will need to be taken care of. Without a power of attorney, it can be difficult for these matters to be handled in your absence.

Some examples of situations where a power of attorney may be necessary include:

  • Managing property or investments – If you own property or investments in your home country, having a trusted agent handle them while you are away can ensure that they are properly maintained and managed.
  • Paying bills and managing finances – Your agent can handle day-to-day financial matters such as paying bills, collecting rent, or depositing checks into your account.
  • Conducting business affairs – If you own a business, a power of attorney can allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf while you are away.

Why do I need a power of attorney before travelling?

Even if you’re not emigrating, it’s a good idea to have a power of attorney in place before traveling for a long time. This is especially important in remote areas with limited communication. Assigning a representative via a Power of Attorney (POA) can guarantee that your matters are handled in times when communication or decision-making becomes challenging. This provides reassurance to both you and your loved ones.

Important considerations before granting power of attorney

Before you grant someone power of attorney for your emigration planning, there are several important factors to consider. These include:

  • Choosing the right person: It’s crucial to select someone trustworthy and capable of managing your finances in your absence.
  • Understanding the scope of authority: Before signing any documents, ensure you comprehend the powers and how they will be executed. You can also include specific limitations or instructions to ensure your wishes are followed.
  • Consulting a legal professional: It’s advisable to seek guidance from a legal professional when granting power of attorney. They can ensure the document is valid and tailored to your needs.

How do I create a power of attorney?

Creating a power of attorney involves these steps:

  1. Choose an agent – Select someone trustworthy and capable of fulfilling the responsibilities outlined in the POA.
  2. Determine granted powers – Decide which tasks or decisions your agent will handle on your behalf, such as managing finances or making medical decisions.
  3. Draft the document – Use a template or seek legal assistance to create the power of attorney. Include the names of parties involved, granted powers, and any limitations or restrictions.
  4. Sign and notarise – After drafting the document, sign and notarise it to make it legally binding.


In conclusion, signing a power of attorney before emigrating or travelling can provide you with peace of mind that your affairs will be taken care of in your absence. It is an important legal document that can help ensure that your financial and legal matters are managed properly.

FinGlobal: cross-border financial specialists for South Africans abroad

If you are considering setting up an offshore company, it is important to seek professional advice to ensure that you choose the right country and structure for your business requirements. For your personal cross-border financial requirements, FinGlobal is ready to assist with anything from South African tax clearance to retirement annuity encashment and everything else in between.

To learn more about FinGlobal’s trusted services, please leave your contact details and we will be in touch to answer your questions.

Leave a Reply