What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a public document notarized by a notary, by which, a person or Company, appoint another (usually a Solicitor), as legal representative to act on his or her behalf in certain legal acts. For instance, in order to buy or sell properties, dealing with inheritances, apply for NIE number, open or close a bank account, etc.
This means that the representative will need to accredit his status as attorney-in-fact by showing the original document, and never a copy.
Can I grant a POA living abroad?
YES. Spanish notarial powers of attorney are internationally recognised. The so-called Hague Apostille allows the legal efficacy of a power of attorney to be recognised among signatory states of the Hague Convention. The apostille comprises an annotation on the notarial public document certifying the authenticity of public documents issued in another country.
Subsequently, if you are living abroad, you can grant a power of attorney at your nearest Notary, and ask the Notary to legalize with the Apostille Hague stamp. (In this case, the document would have to be bilingual). Alternatively, you can also grant a POA at your nearest Spanish Consulate. In this latter case, the document will be in Spanish only.
What are the main types of power of attorney?
For example, in those situations where there is a complete relationship of trust between the client and the Solicitor, it might be advisable to delegate the greatest number of powers on the representative. This is called a general power of attorney, which will include a hugely extensive range of acts that the representative will be able to perform on behalf of the principal.
However, in other cases, it might only be necessary a restricted power of attorney, with the aim of dealing with an inheritance process or for buying a property.
Particular mention should be made here of powers of attorney for lawsuits (entitling a court agent to appear in proceedings on behalf of another person), and in general any other referring to acts that permit the function of representation.
What are the acts that cannot be done by means of power of attorney?
It should be borne in mind that there are some acts or forms of legal business for which representation is not permitted, such as, for example, the signing of a will, as it is deemed to be a supremely personal act.
In conclusion, there is a wide range of possibilities for a power of attorney depending on the specific purpose or business intended. Subsequently, – as the cost will be almost the same whether it is a general or restricted POA, – it is important to explain to the clients about all the different available options, so each client can make an informed decision in advance.
Can a POA be revoked?
YES. The principal is free to revoke the power at any time. This can be done, either:
a) By calling on the representative to return the original document.
b) By signing a revocation document at the Notary, with notice of the revocation being served on the representative via a notary, who need not be the same as the one before whom the power of attorney was initially signed.
In fact, the electronic signature recognised among Spanish notaries, allows for remote and immediate electronic dispatch of authentic copies of powers of attorney between different notary offices without the need for dispatch of the authentic copy on paper, thereby saving valuable time in the execution of the instrument in which the attorney-in-fact will be involved.
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Mr Oscar Ricor.
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practising Spanish Solicitor.