Louise Ponders Foreign Powers of Attorney.

Louise Ponders Foreign Powers of Attorney.

Here at AtkinsonNotary we see many clients who require to sign a Power of Attorney for use in another country.

If you have a Power of Attorney which requires signing here for use overseas then it will need to be witnessed by a Notary Public.

It should be noted that a Power of Attorney is a very powerful document and should certainly not be entered into carelessly.

The most common reason why we see clients requiring a Power of Attorney to be completed is usually because they are looking to sell or purchase a property overseas and because completing a Power of Attorney negates the need for having to travel to the foreign jurisdiction to sign necessary documents – the Power would give authority to a legal adviser to sign on their behalf.

The usual scenario is that the document [Power of Attorney] would be drawn up by the foreign adviser and emailed directly to us.

We would then arrange for client(s) to attend with identification [preferably, passport and proof of address] to sign in the presence of the Notary when he would witness the signature and place his own signature, stamp and seal to the document.

Different countries have different requirements as to how Powers should be executed.
For example it is the Spanish way that the Power of Attorney [Poder] be read out loud to the client by the Notary [whether you want it or not!] to make quite sure that the client does fully understand the nature of the document before it is signed.

A typical Power of Attorney that we see tends to be very wide in scope – that is to say it is a general precedent from the attorney’s computer and the attorney just simply clicks print and sends it in this format [a “one size fits all” scenario].

It therefore usually includes more powers for the attorney than necessary – it is not tailored down to the individual need of the client’s job – i.e if a client was selling a house then the document would really just need to give authority for the attorney to sign sale documents however most of the Powers that are sent over give a wider authority – typically including power to buy or sell a property, to open bank accounts, to borrow or repay mortgages etc…

The reason for this usually is to keep the costs down for the client in preparing such a document – the one size fits all Power tends to cover anything that might arise.

Whilst sometimes clients feel that they are nervous of giving too wide a power, the logic surely must be, that no-one should give any Powers at all to a foreign third party whom they do not consider to be entirely trustworthy. And if trustworthy, then presumably they will not abuse powers however wide?

Once the document has been Notarised – then of course depending on which country, further legalisation may be required – please see earlier blogs for more information as to this process [called “legalisation] here.

We can also give further guidance over the telephone if you are unsure – As always, for any queries you may have in relation to a Power of Attorney or any other foreign matter then please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can contact me or Chris Atkinson here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com