POWER OF ATTORNEY
Old age and frail health bring with them their own botheration. One of the crucial steps taken recourse to is the Power of Attorney – be it General or Specific. Power of attorney, while enabling ease of transactions can also become a liability if one is not careful about the nature of the power given to the other person. Unless the Power of Attorney documents do not clarify and specify the exact nature of the power that the awardee gets through the document, this instrument can be greatly misused. The case of Manik Patel has been an example of a lapse in this documentation. Living in the USA for the past thirty years, he had been the owner of various properties near Vadodara in Gujarat. Over time, he was duped and forced to hand over or sell off or relinquish his claim to what was rightfully his – in all the cases the culprits being his own brothers. Deeply hurt and defeated, he finally managed to contact our New Jersey office through an internet search that he requested a friendly neighbour to do on his behalf. Burdened by his ill health and loneliness, he was aggrieved by the legal battles he had to fight out with his siblings over a period of six years since 2005. He had lost all his legal battles because in his own words “they are just too many of them against me!” To make matters worse, on a visit to India in 2008 he got a General Power of Attorney made in favour of his nephew Sanjay Parekh to take care of the property. In 2011 when he contacted us he was unable to move much and was left alone since none of his friends back in India were alive now. He felt helpless and pleaded with us that he would like to save the last piece of property that he had. He was not even sure whether Sanjay would be honouring the Power of Attorney or not and wanted it checked.
In time, he learned to trust the efficiency levels of the team. In his case, empathy and understanding mattered a lot and we had to make sure he felt comfortable with the situation. This was a client who could not have come to India at all and needed assistance for every small matter in India. Meticulous communication, organised documentation, frequent communication aided in the sorting out of all matters for him. The power of attorney document had to be revoked and the company took over all legal matters for him. In time, his property was retrieved and proper legal control gained for him as the rightful owner.
There is a lesson to be learnt in cases like these where Power of Attorney has to be given. We always advise clients not to take recourse to a General Power of Attorney for it can be misused. granting a Specific Power of Attorney documents is always better – it keeps the person safe and well protected.