Choose Your Foreign Attorney With Care. It’s Obvious Yes?

Is it necessary to say, that when appointing an Attorney to act for you in a foreign Country, be careful in your choice?

By Attorney I do not mean an American trial lawyer, but the legal meaning – An Attorney is any adult person not necessarily with any training or qualification in the Law [maybe just an acquaintance] who has been appointed by you to sign your legal paperwork in a foreign place and thereby bind you to the transaction.

When you live in England and have a property abroad to sell, if your work commitments or health issues mean that you cannot travel abroad, then you can appoint an Attorney by making a Deed of Power of Attorney at your Notary’s office.

In a recent case, an English person appointed an Attorney to sell his Portuguese house. The house there had been bought originally for €110,000.00 and in the light of the years of recession, the owner was disappointed but not surprised to receive the sale price of only €80,000.00 after his Attorney’s charges. That all happened a few years ago and by now was “water under the bridge” as far as the Owner was concerned.

Until a month or so ago when he got a tax demand in the post from the Portuguese Government demanding “unpaid Capital Gains tax” on his €44,000.00 profit. That’s right, the Attorney had sold the house for €154,000.00 and lied to him that the best he could get had been the €80,000.00.

Now the English Owner has to pay the tax and no doubt he will tell the Portuguese police and see whether he can find his criminal Attorney. [Who, if he had been less greedy and just sold for €110,000.00, would never have been found out because no CGT would have been due].

So, if you are wanting to appoint an Attorney abroad, do please contact me first. As well as certifying the legal paperwork from England, I can usually recommend a trustworthy foreign lawyer to act for you as your Attorney. Contact me on http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone +44 (0) 1138160116.

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