In the past I’ve extolled the virtues of getting your official documents in order and designating a representative in your country of residence/citizenship (aka “home”) who can receive your mail and be a helping hand with local matters in your absence.
My designated representative (hi, Mum!) doesn’t get a lot of mail, but has helped me in the following ways while I’ve been abroad:
- Alerted me when the tax department (or anybody) has sent action-required correspondence
- Collected tax slips, and forwarded them to my accountant
- Held on to certain things I need on my return visits (like driver’s license renewals)
- Deposited the occasional cheque I’ve been sent
- Forwarded some things to my address-du-jour
But because I’ve given her Power of Attorney over property, she’s also been able to do the following:
- Received registered mail (which usually requires my signature) on my behalf – this includes simple things like renewal credit cards
- Perform certain banking manoeuvres that normally require my physical presence
That’s all she’s had to do for me so far on that level, but having somebody who can truly act on your behalf in your absence can be a blessing that comes in many forms.
Power of Attorney
There are two kinds of Power of Attorney – one for Property (ie: stuff), and one for Personal Care (ie: what to do if you’re in a coma and can’t express your wishes).
Here, we’re discussing the Power of Attorney for Property.
By assigning Power of Attorney for Property to somebody, you’re giving them the legal right to do just about anything on your behalf. So obviously you need to implicitly trust the person you’re giving it to. Although not imperative, this should be the same person you’d be willing to give power of attorney for personal care to, or to assign as your executor for your will.
If you have doubts, then you can manage most of the intricacies of full-time travel without giving Power of Attorney to anybody. But I’ve saved myself a few expensive plane tickets in not having to return home by having one.
How to Get One
You’re best to see a lawyer to draft one up, although you can use search for a template online at your own risk (the risk being that the document isn’t worded or completed correctly and doesn’t comply to legal requirements). It’s a one to two page document, so it shouldn’t cost a bundle.
Do you travel with Powers of Attorney set up at home?