For most people who want to study abroad, they often forget the importance of an attorney in the equation. While it is not regularly discussed, having a Power of Attorney while studying abroad can help you in many ways.
You can assign a power of attorney so that once you’re out of your country; your handpicked person can help you handle things on that side. For instance, a Power of Attorney would come in handy when you need to:
- Receive checks payable to you for your educational purposes and expenses
- Sign as well as deposit checks received on your behalf
- Handle financial assistance related issues
- Process monetary/banking transactions on your behalf
- Settle bills on your behalf
- Handle the processing of insurance transactions, and more.
But assigning a power of attorney isn’t something you’d just wake up and get done. It’s a legal process and typically requires that you draft a legal document stating that you assign a person the power to act as your legal representative when the need arises in certain situations. Once you have drafted the legal documents or have a pre-drafted form, you would need to visit a Notary Public and have the form signed in his/her presence.
For the records, a Notary Public is any person designated and recognized by the government to confirm the legality of any form or document. You can find notary publics in yellow pages, at post offices, banks and even a registered barrister/lawyer of the bar association. As a student, you can also try reaching out to your university Bursary or even the Registrar’s office and see if you can have staff serve as your notary public.
Selecting someone to serve as your Power of Attorney
If you’re having a hard time selecting a Power of Attorney, maybe you don’t know who would fit this description. The thing is, you can choose just about anybody, but be sure that you trust such a person to make decisions you would have normally made, decisions which are in your best interest and sign required documents on your behalf. This is why the majority of students choose either of their parents, siblings, best friend, or their significant other. Choosing a random, casual friend should be out of the question. Also, to be on the safe side, it’s highly recommended that you discuss with the individual about your decision to use them as your power of attorney before going ahead to appoint them.
A commonly asked question is the duration of time in which a Power of Attorney is needed. This entirely varies, however, it’s recommended that you have a power of attorney available the entire time you would be unavailable. That is, if you have travel plans before, during and after your study abroad experience. That said; make plans to have your power of attorney ready in advance, before you even depart your home country. Hand your Power of Attorney the notarized original document and hold a photocopy of the document. You can also scan the original and keep in your mail.
Remember, having a power of Attorney is crucial for your study abroad dreams.