Difference Between Power of Attorney And Letter of Authority

Difference-Between-Power-of-Attorney-And-Letter-of-AuthorityA Letter of authority works for simple tasks. It can be used for getting routine work done. But when there are big transactions, it it better to get power of attorney because it sets out the manner in which the activity is to be done. A letter  of authority may or may not specify how an activity is to be carried out. A power of attorney is a notarized document and has an additional edge. A letter of authority is not an authenticated document. A letter of authority is a document under which one person authorizes another person to do a particular act. Hence it is used for very specific purpose. it can be for instance used for collecting or submitting documents on your behalf. Experts are unanimous that when large and proper transactions are to be carried out. you should opt for a power of attorney. A power of attorney can be of two types -  general and special power of attorney. Your power of attorney would be special if the appointment is made for a specified act or acts and general if it is made generally for certain acts, for e.g. representation before the income-tax department. Further your power of attorney could be irrevocable or revocable.

Also your power of attorney may or may not require registration. A power of attorney dealing with immovable property requires mandatory registration. For e.g. a power of attorney accompanied by a development agreement would mandatory be required to be registered. While the power to operate a bank accounts may not require registration. Recently a immovable properties, it was held by SC that General Power of attorney have no legal sanctity and immovable properties can be sold o transferred only through registered deeds.

POWER of Donor : - The person who appoints another to act on his behalf is known as the donor. For instance, if say, A is unwell and appoints another person B to act on his behalf then A is the donor and B is the holder. However both Letter of authority and Power of Attorney do not offer the donor the same power  to control activities of the holder. The difference between the two is in terms of the relationship between the entities involved. A letter of authority  usually depicts the relationship of a master and servant. Whereas  the attorney relation is more like that of a principal and agent. In the case of the latter, the  principal has the right to direct as to what act one is expected to perform whereas in the case of the former, a master has the right to direct "what" as well as "how" the work is to be done. The tasks that are specified in an Letter of Attorney are usually carried out under the supervision of the person bestowing the authority and the grantee has to confirm to all the reasonable orders in the course of that work, whereas in the case of a Power of attorney where is a greater scope for independence.

PRECAUTIONS :-  One should be very careful before handing over either documents, Letter of Authority or Power of Attorney to another person as one can do little  to prevent its misuse. This is because these documents especially the Power of Attorney, is accompanied by a ratification clause, which automatically results in vicarious liability.  This means that it makes the donor responsible for the acts of the holder. One of the key measures to avoid the misuse of an Letter of Authority or Power of attorney is to have clarity. You should be very specific in granting the power of attorney for two reasons, One is that your should know the powers that you are giving the other person and the second is that the person receiving the Power of Attorney should be know the scope of his powers. You must make clear the matters on which the holder can represent himself on you behalf.
REVOCATION OF POWER OF ATTORNEY: - You should specify the duration of the Power of Attorney and how it is to be revoked. You must also make it clear why you are giving the power of attorney. for example, if you are ill and have asked somebody to act on your behalf regarding property matters. You must state this in the Power of Attorney. It is better if you place limitations, Specify when your Power of Attorney will stand revoked and under what circumstances the document cab be used.

CANCELLATION OF DOCUMENT:- You should cancel the document be it the Letter of Authority or Power of Attorney. Once the work is complete. You can simply cancel a Letter of Authority by issuing a fresh one that states this clearly, "The revocation should be intimated to the people dealing with the person who has the letter of authority. There cannot be an irrevocable letter of authority. However in the case of Power of attorney, the procedure is more complex, if it is revocable, the document should mention the circumstances under which it can be revoked. Even if dose not do so, you can revoke it by executing a document, canceling it , if the power of attorney was registered you need a registered deed of cancellation.  It will be better if you put up a public notice in a newspaper stating that the power of attorney has been revoked. However this procedure is only possible if the Power of Attorney is revocable one. An irrevocable Power of Attorney should be made after due deliberation and is useful in circumstances when it needs to e operated upon after the death of the granter.

HOLDER'S RESPONSIBILITY : - Holder of an Letter of Authority or Power of Attorney should be aware of the task at hand as well as the purpose for which it is delegated and should act in conformity  with these two parameters in order to avoid trouble. " The holder of a letter of authority or Power of Attorney should be careful not to act beyond  the authority granted under the document. The supreme Court has said that the holder can act beyond  his authority only in cases of emergency, and if it is beneficial to the donor, in cases other than an emergency, if the holder acts beyond his authority, the aggrieved party, that is, either the donor or another affected party , can file a suit in a court of law.


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