A General Power of Attorney is a legal document through which one person authorizes another to perform an act on behalf of the first person. Typically, such documents are beneficial for entities which require delegation of activities to a certain person or for an individual who cannot be physically present for any activity that requires such presence. For eg: A Trust may execute a General Power of Attorney to an Office Bearer for carrying out activities of the Trust.
As the term suggests, this legal document is “general” in nature, and does not contain a specific list of activities that the delegated person can or cannot do, but instead gives a general sphere of role.
If the subject matter is not general but restricted to something either specific, i.e. a special task is outlined and power is given only for carrying out that particular task, then it is not a General Power of Attorney but a Limited Power of Attorney or Special Power of Attorney. For eg. An Apartment Owners Association may execute a Special Power of Attorney to its office bearer for representing the Association in a case in Court; the Proprietor of a Company authorizes his son to act as his Attorney for conducting a case for recovery of money.
A Power of Attorney may be registered, or can be printed on Stamp Paper of adequate value and attested by Notary Public. The situation in which the General Power of Attorney is required to be used will provide for registration or attestation.
Such Power of Attorney can be valid for a specific period of time, or till the act is completed or carried out. It is recommended that the Power of Attorney be time-specific and not vague. In case of a time-bound Power of Attorney, a second one can always be executed.