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Witnessing a General/Ordinary Power of Attorney

As stated in our Ministerial Manual, when administering a General or Ordinary Power of Attorney, a New Zealand Justice of the Peace may witness the signature of EITHER the donor or the attorney but NOT both. This should not be confused with the administration of an Enduring Power of Attorney where aJustice can ONLY witness the signature of the Attorney. Neither of these are a JP task so do not add JP after your signature and don’t use a JP stamp. 

At times you may be asked to witness a General/Special Power of Attorney to be used overseas. The document entitled “Power of Attorney” (PoA) or “Special Power of Attorney” (SPoA) may be used to enable donor’s relative to make a property transaction overseas or access a bank etc. In this situation the client often advises that they have been told that their signature must be witnessed by a NZ JP. 

There are three options available to you:
  1. Direct the client to the Embassy or Consulate of the country where the Poor SPoA is going to be sent, and request that they administer, the document.
  2. Prior to administering the document, ask to see written proof that the intended country will accept a NZ JP witnessing the document (often instructions are in a letter or email),
  3.  Take the client at their word and sign and stamp the document with a ‘warning’. Explain that the client should be aware that if the POA or SPOA is rejected, the process may need to be repeated.
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