Power of attorney in Kenya: 19 things you need to know

Power of attorney in Kenya: 19 things you need to know

Last updated on July 13th, 2024

1. What is a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is part of estate planning that enables you to donate power to someone else to act on your behalf when you are unavailable.

2. Where do I use a Power of Attorney?

You can instruct another person to carry out either of the following tasks:

  • sign contracts,
  • sign land transfer forms,
  • sign checks,
  • file tax returns,
  • collect government benefits,
  • collect SACCO benefits,
  • manage your investments and other business transactions. etc.   

3. Who can make a Power of Attorney?

There are two key factors; mental capacity and age. Only a person of a sane/sound mind can grant the power of attorney. The parties must be 18 years and above.

4. Types of Powers of Attorney

The Power of Attorney may take three forms: it may be for general and unlimited use, or specific for a one-time event like selling land or Irrevocable power of attorney.

i. General Power of Attorney

You can donate power to another person to do anything and everything that you could do in your name for instance to sign all such instruments and to do all such acts, matters and things as may be necessary in any transaction. For land matters, you must present a request to the Registrar in Form LRA 5.

ii. Specific Power of Attorney

You can donate power to another person to perform the specific acts noted in the Power of Attorney only relating to one particular transaction and everything that you could do in your name for instance to sign all such instruments and to do all such acts, matters and things as may be necessary in the transaction. For land matters, you must present a request to the Registrar in Form LRA 6.

iii. Irrevocable Power of Attorney

An irrevocable power of Attorney cannot be cancelled by the principal. It is continuing and thus enduring. It must be given for valuable consideration. Hence you can donate power to another person to do anything and everything that you could do in your name for instance to sign all such instruments and to do all such acts, matters and things as may be necessary in the transaction for consideration. For land matters, you must present a request to the Registrar in Form LRA 7.

5. What are the legal requirements?

The Power of Attorney document must contain the following particulars for both parties, the person giving the Power of Attorney (Donor) and the person being given the power of attorney (Donee):  

  • Full names (as per the national Identity card or Passport)
  • Postal address
  • Address for Service:
  • Telephone/mobile number
  • Email address
  • Passport size Coloured photograph
  • Scope of the Power of Attorney: state whether it is general or specific or Irrevocable
  • Signature block: both parties must sign the Power of Attorney
  • Tax: stamp duty payment receipt must be attached and the Power of Attorney lodged for registration.

6. Where is a Power of Attorney registered in Kenya?

The Registration of Documents Registry.

7. When do I present the Power of Attorney for registration?

The Power of Attorney must be registered within two months after signing. If it is signed outside Kenya, it must be registered within two months after it arrives in Kenya.

8. What is the penalty for late registration?

If the Power of Attorney is not registered within two months of signing, the Registrar may impose a fine not exceeding ten times the registration fee.

The Registrar may also delay the registration until the fine has been paid.

9. When is the Power of Attorney valid?

Power of Attorney becomes effective immediately after registration.

10. What are the tax implications for Power of Attorney in Kenya?

  • When registering the power of Attorney, you must pay a tax called stamp duty. The Kenya Revenue Authority collects stamp duty.
  • If you prepare the Power of Attorney in Kenya, payment of stamp duty is within 30 days after assessment. 
  • If you prepare the Power of Attorney outside Kenya, payment of stamp duty is within 30 days after you have received the documents. the Power of Attorney is prepared in Kenya.
  • If the stamp duty is not paid within the said 30 days, the Kenya Revenue Authority imposes a five percent (5%) fine. The fine is applicable for every quarter from the day of signing that Power of Attorney.  

11. Can a company issue a Power of Attorney in Kenya?

Yes. A company can issue a Power of Attorney. The company must attach their Memorandum and Articles of Association copies. The company must also attach the relevant company resolution.

12. Can an individual give a Power of Attorney to a company in Kenya?

Yes. A power of Attorney can be given to a company.

13. How many people can give a Power of Attorney?

Several people may appoint the same attorney/s jointly or separately.

14. What do I consider when making the Power of Attorney?  

We recommend that you have a Power of Attorney for Property (assets) and a separate Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Sometimes, the person who is best suited to be your Power of Attorney for a land transaction is not the same person who is best suited to make your medical decisions.

15. Can a Power of Attorney in Kenya Be Used After Death?

No. A Power of Attorney is no longer valid after you die. When someone dies, the Last Will is the document that takes over.

16. What if my Power of Attorney is Registered in a Foreign Country?

Any Power of Attorney registered outside Kenya must be presented to the Registrar of Documents for registration in Kenya. A Notary Public stamp from the embassy of the country of origin must be affixed to verify its authenticity.

If the Power of Attorney contains a foreign language, a Certificate from the country’s embassy verifying the interpretation must be presented.

17. Someone Is Abusing a Power of Attorney. What Do I Do?

If you believe someone is abusing a Power of Attorney you can initiate an investigation with the police or file a claim against such a person.

In some situations, you can revoke the Power of Attorney.

If you wish to revoke a registered power of attorney you must present a request to the Registrar in Form LRA 8.

18. How long does it take to register a Power of Attorney?

It may take less than one hour to register the Power of Attorney if all documents are regular when presented for registration.    

19. How much does a Power of Attorney cost in Kenya?

Contact us today to get a quote to make a Power of Attorney, our Estate Planning lawyer will reach back to you. Or, call Kubwa & Co Advocates directly at +254728607818 or email info@kubwaadvocates.com

This Legal Tip of The Day is for general information only; the opinions and arguments here are of the author and do not reflect the official views of Kubwa & Company Advocates. Be sure to seek specific legal advice on the subject matter. If you have any questions on the same, please do not hesitate to contact kubwa@kubwaadvocates.com

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Yuvenalis Kubwa is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the Law Society of Kenya.

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