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A special power of attorney is a legal document appointing a specific representative (to be called an agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on behalf of another person who will be referred to as the principal.
The circumstances in which the agent can act on behalf of the principal are clearly laid out in the document.
It’s also called a limited power of attorney since the agent is only authorized to perform specific actions on behalf of the principal. It must be noted that writing a SPA will give the agent the legal right to make decisions on your behalf.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about the special power of attorney and how to create one yourself.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The use of the information contained herein does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the user/reader.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Special Power of Attorney: A Step-by-Step Guide.
- What are the different types of Power of Attorney?
- What’s the difference between Special Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney?
- Who can get a Special Power of Attorney?
- Who can be your agent or attorney-in-fact?
- When can I use a Special Power of Attorney?
- How to Execute a Special Power of Attorney in the Philippines if You’re Abroad.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
How to Get Special Power of Attorney: A Step-by-Step Guide.
1. Prepare the document.
Are you writing a Special Power of Attorney from scratch and have no clue about its format?
To help you out, we have created a template that you can use for any purposes.
Fill out the form properly while making sure that all the details are correct since it will be a legal document.
How to fill out the Special Power of Attorney template.
When filling out the SPA form, you must provide the following details:
- Name, nationality, civil status, and address of the Principal.
- Name, nationality, civil status, and address of the Representative/Attorney-in-Fact to be given authority
- The task/s that will be undertaken by the Representative/Attorney-in-Fact.
- Date and place where the Principal will sign the SPA.
- Name and signature of the Principal.
- Name and signature of the Representative/Attorney-in-Fact.
- Name and signature of two witnesses.
- Acknowledgment from the Notary Public. Details of the Principal’s valid ID (ID Name, ID Number and Expiry Date) will be indicated in the Acknowledgment.
2. Print copies of the duly-accomplished SPA.
After filling in the required information, print at least 3 copies of the SPA for the following:
- 1 copy for the Principal
- 1 copy for the Representative/Attorney-in-Fact
- 1 copy for the Notary Public
3. Have the document notarized.
Bring the SPA to the Notary Public where you signed the document and have it notarized. Pay the notarial fees which may range from Php 100 to Php 500.
What are the different types of Power of Attorney?
There are two types of power of attorney and it’s important to know how each works so you’ll be able to execute the right one according to your legal needs.
1. General Power of Attorney.
This type of power of attorney has a broad scope and grants a person the power to administer and manage your business and properties.
2. Special Power of Attorney.
This type of power of attorney is for a specific task to be done by your representative. SPA is also needed on some transactions specified under the Civil Code of the Philippines, e.g. selling of real property by an agent requires a SPA.
What’s the difference between Special Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney?
Appointing someone as your representative will give the latter the authority to do a variety of tasks on your behalf.
However, a general power of attorney is broader and gives the representative the legal right to administer and manage your business and properties. General Power of Attorney is limited to the act of administration.
A special power of attorney, on the other hand, is for specific tasks to be undertaken by your representative as well as for those tasks required by the Civil Code of the Philippines to be done with a Special Power of Attorney, otherwise, the action of the agent is void.
Who can get a Special Power of Attorney?
Anyone who for some reason needs to assign a representative to sign papers, manage assets, or handle money on his behalf, among others, can execute a Special Power of Attorney.
Who can be your agent or attorney-in-fact?
You can appoint anyone to be your representative as long as you fully trust the person. He/She should also be of legal age.
When can I use a Special Power of Attorney?
Under the Civil Code of the Philippines1, a Special Power of Attorney is necessary in the following cases. It means that if your representative/agent performs the following function without a SPA, the transaction is not valid.
- Make such payments as are not usually considered as acts of administration;
- Effect novations which put an end to obligations already in existence at the time the agency was constituted;
- Compromise, to submit questions to arbitration, to renounce the right to appeal from a judgment, to waive objections to the venue of action or to abandon a prescription already acquired;
- Waive any obligation gratuitously;
- Enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration;
- Make gifts, except customary ones for charity or those made to employees in the business managed by the agent;
- Loan or borrow money unless the latter act be urgent and indispensable for the preservation of the things which are under the administration;
- Lease any real property to another person for more than one year;
- Bind the principal to render some service without compensation;
- Bind the principal in a contract of partnership;
- Obligate the principal as a guarantor or surety;
- Create or convey real rights over immovable property;
- Accept or repudiate an inheritance;
- Ratify or recognize obligations contracted before the agency;
- Any other act of strict dominion.
In addition to the above, the following are usual transactions where a SPA is used:
- File tax returns;
- Claim government benefits;
- Maintain business interests;
- Manage bank accounts, cash, and even safety deposit boxes;
- Sell, mortgage, or manage assets and properties;
- Settle claims;
- Enter contracts;
- Plan estate and financial gifts;
- Receive bank loan;
- Submit the NBI application and claim NBI clearance;
- Apply for, renew, or claim PRC license;
- Apply and claim a driver’s license;
- Request for birth certificate and marriage certificate from PSA;
- Receive a birth certificate and marriage certificate from PSA.
On the other hand, these are some of the limitations to a special power of attorney:
- A special power to sell that does not include the power to mortgage;
- A special power to mortgage that does not include the power to sell;
- A special power to compromise that does not necessarily authorize submission to arbitration.
It simply means that if you have given your representative/agent a SPA to sell your property, the agent cannot mortgage your property and vice versa. The task is specific to selling or mortgaging as the case may be.
How to Execute a Special Power of Attorney in the Philippines if You’re Abroad.
What is a Consularized SPA?
A Consularized SPA is simply a Special Power of Attorney which will be signed abroad. The Consularized SPA is for OFWs who wish to assign a representative back in the Philippines but is unable to come home due to various reasons.
The Consularized SPA will be executed at the Philippine Embassy of the country where you’re currently residing.
What are the uses of a Consularized SPA?
A Consularized SPA can be used to assign someone to fulfill legal transactions on your behalf.
What are the requirements to get a Consularized SPA?
To get a Consularized SPA, the following requirements must be supplied:
- Photocopy of the first and last page of your Philippine passport;
- Valid Philippine-issued government ID (only if the passport is not available, although some may require both the ID and passport);
- Personal appearance;
- Two witnesses (should be of legal age and also personally appear with you in the Embassy during the execution of the SPA);
- Valid IDs of witnesses;
- Notarial fee (amount varies per country).
How to Get a Consularized SPA: A Step-by-Step Guide.
- Visit your nearest embassy’s website and go to the consular services section. For example: For the Philippine Embassy in Italy, you can find the information here. For the Philippine Embassy in Japan, you can find the information here. For the Philippine Embassy in South Korea, you can find the information here.
- Download the Special Power of Attorney Form and fill out the details.
- Together with your two witnesses, go to the Philippine Embassy near you.
- Present the duly filled-out SPA and sign the document at the embassy.
- If everything goes well and there are no issues or missing documents, you’ll be asked to pay the consularization fee ranging from Php 1,500 to Php 3,000 plus an additional fee for the courier services.
- It usually takes around three business days to process the document.
- Once the document has been released, you can send it back to your family in the Philippines and use it for its intended purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions.
1. Can the SPA be revoked?
Generally yes, you can revoke the SPA anytime you want.
You just have to write a new document titled ‘Revocation of Special Power of Attorney’ which should state that you no longer want to be represented by your assigned representative. After signing the document, have it notarized and it will be effective immediately.
However, a SPA cannot be revoked in the following circumstances:
- if a bilateral contract depends upon it;
- it is a means to fulfill an obligation already contracted;
- if a partner is appointed manager of a partnership in the contract of partnership and his removal from the management is unjustifiable2.
Simply put, you as a principal cannot revoke the SPA granted to another person if doing so, an existing contract cannot be carried out, or the tasks under the SPA are the means to fulfill an obligation under the contract.
2. Does SPA have an expiry date?
It depends on what type of SPA was made.
If you have indicated that the SPA will only be valid within a specified period, then it will no longer be effective once that period’s over. On the other hand, if you haven’t indicated a validity period in the SPA, it will remain effective until you have it revoked.
3. The Principal is already an Attorney. Can an Attorney notarize his or her own SPA?
No. As expressly stated under the Rules on Notarial Practice3, an Attorney (or a Notary Public) cannot notarize a SPA or any document if he or she is a party to it.
4. Is it okay to make one SPA for the whole family if I am assigning someone to pick-up documents on our behalf from the DFA office?
Yes. There is no prohibition to put many representative/Attorney-in-fact in one document to perform particular tasks as long as you include their names in the SPA.