Authorising someone to act on your behalf in Singapore
Do you live in Australia, but you need to appoint someone to look after your property, business, or other legal or financial dealings in Singapore? One way you can achieve this is by appointing that person as your attorney under a power of attorney prepared for Singapore.
Many of our clients who live in Australia but own Housing & Development Board (HDB) property in Singapore usually appoint an attorney in Singapore to look after their HDB property on their behalf. This is especially important if you intend to buy, sell or sublet your HDB property – see HDB Power of Attorney.
Who prepares my power of attorney for Singapore?
Since your power of attorney will be used in Singapore, it should be prepared by someone who is familiar with the laws, procedures, and documents used in Singapore. Generally, this should be a qualified lawyer in Singapore.
Aside from preparing your power of attorney, your lawyer in Singapore should also be able to help you with the registration process.
HDB Power of Attorney
If you own HDB property in Singapore, you can appoint an attorney to look after your HDB property on your behalf. You must appoint your attorney with the HDB Power of Attorney.
There are different versions of the HDB Power of Attorney. Aside from the general maintenance of your HDB property, each version grants your attorney different powers. For example, your attorney can buy, sell or sublet your HDB property. You should ask your lawyer in Singapore to prepare the HDB Power of Attorney according to your requirements. There are many Singaporean lawyers offering assistance with preparing the HDB Power of Attorney and you can find their details with a simple internet search.
If you live in Australia, you must sign the HDB Power of Attorney in front of a notary public and it must be notarised. The notarised HDB Power of Attorney must be registered with the court in Singapore to be valid. After your HDB Power of Attorney has been registered with the court, it will be valid for a maximum of 6 years from its date of commencement.
Can you use an Australian power of attorney in Singapore?
Maybe, but we generally don’t recommend it. You shouldn’t use a power of attorney that’s been prepared for use in Australia, especially if you require the power of attorney for your HDB property. For example, you shouldn’t use the template for a power of attorney according to the Powers of Attorney Act 2003 (NSW). Usually, this power of attorney is only valid in New South Wales and Australia. Australia and Singapore are different countries and so different laws, procedures, and documents apply. There’s a risk that whatever you prepare in Australia will only be valid in Australia but will not be valid in Singapore. The power of attorney according to the law in New South Wales or any other state in Australia will not be recognised as the HDB Power of Attorney.
Where can you get more advice about a power of attorney for Singapore?
You really only should get more advice about a power of attorney for Singapore from a lawyer in Singapore.
You shouldn’t follow advice from online forums, chat groups or download just any kind of template from the internet without checking that it’s correct, reliable, and relevant. While the internet may be a vast source of ‘information’, it’s not always the best information and it may not be relevant to you or your situation. The power of attorney is an important legal document and following the wrong information or using the wrong template could have unexpected consequences.
If your power of attorney hasn’t been prepared properly it might be rejected or create more complications, and aside from the wasted cost of doing it all over again, there’s also the irreplaceable cost of time and delay.
If your power of attorney relates to your HDB property, you can also approach HDB for more information and advice about appointing an attorney in Singapore to assist you with the sale or subletting.
Does my power of attorney need to be notarised?
If you live in Australia and you’re signing a power of attorney for Singapore, then your power of attorney must be notarised. This means you must sign it in front of a notary public who’ll confirm your identity, witness your signature and notarise your power of attorney. If you sign your power of attorney in front of a justice of the peace, it won’t be recognised or legally valid in Singapore.
What does notarising my power of attorney mean?
Notarising your power of attorney will generally require you (and anyone else who may be signing the power of attorney with you) to appear before the notary public, verify your identity according to your passport (or other photo identity documents), and sign your power of attorney in front of the notary public. The notary public will verify your identity, witness you sign your signature and then notarise your power of attorney on the basis that they witnessed you sign and verified your identity.
Does my power of attorney need to be stamped with an apostille?
Australia and Singapore are both members of the Apostille Convention. This means that documents from Australia usually must be stamped with an apostille before they will be recognised in Singapore. Despite this, all of our clients sending the power of attorney to Singapore (including the HDB Power of Attorney) generally only have it notarised. They don’t and haven’t been asked to have it stamped with an apostille.
Do you have any questions?
Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.
If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We’ve also created a flowchart to explain the process.
So, what’s next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We’re a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We’re known for:
- Our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries;
- Our low-cost fixed fees and service offerings; and
- Our availability to help on short notice.
Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney and beyond.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to countries all over the world.