Unable to travel to Italy? Do you need to set up a procura?
Do you need to deal with Italian legal matters but you cannot travel to Italy in person? The solution may be to confer a Power of Attorney. This is known as a procura in Italian.
How does an Italian procura work?
A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal instrument. It allows someone (an agent or attorney) to act on behalf of someone else (the principal). A procura specifies exactly what powers a principal gives to an agent.
Generally speaking, if you use a PoA for an Italian property transaction, it is not advisable to grant a PoA to a real estate agent. This is to avoid any conflicts of interest. As estate agents work on a commission basis, they may have a vested interest in making the sale.
What are the different types of procura in Italy?
There are two types of PoA in Italy.
The principal gives limited powers to an appointed agent. The agent can only conduct specified tasks on behalf of the principal. For example, for an Italian property purchase, if you cannot be in Italy to complete the sale, you can grant this power to your appointed agent who can then sign the deed of sale on your behalf.
The principal grants a wide range of powers to their agent. In effect, the agent can do almost anything the principal could do.
The principal can revoke either type of PoA at any time.
Does Italy recognise foreign Powers of Attorney?
If you draw up a PoA in your home country, you will need to take steps to get it recognised overseas. To do this, your PoA will require an apostille.
Apostilles certify official documents for international use. Apostilles are valid in all jurisdictions that are signatories to the provisions of the Hague Convention (1961) on the mutual recognition of documents.
Italy, the UK, the USA and Australia are all signatories to the Hague Convention. In the UK, you can obtain apostille services through the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office. The U.S Department of State is responsible for apostilles in the U.S.A and in Australia you should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A PoA is a sensitive legal matter. You are entrusting the management of some or all of your legal and financial affairs to someone else.
You should only appoint someone you are confident will act responsibly in your interests, has the necessary skills and is competent, reliable and willing to act for you. We therefore recommend that you confer your Power of Attorney on a professional such as a solicitor.
While you are waiting for formalisation of an apostille, we are able to check the validity of signatures. We can provide a provisional confirmation that these appear genuine.
Before you prepare a PoA applicable in Italy, it is worthwhile seeking legal advice from a cross border legal specialist. If you would like to discuss your situation, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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