Power of Attorney and its legal implications
You may have often heard of “power of attorney,” yet you may still not know exactly what its purpose is.
To shed some more light on the subject, here are some basic facts on PoA. Along with the legal ramifications to purchasing and/or inheriting real estate in Italy.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney – “Procura” in Italian, is a legal document by means of which “principal” gives certain powers to act legally on his/her to someone else: the “agent”. A “Procura” clarifies exactly what powers the principal gives to the appointed agent.
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What are the currently existing types of “Procura”?
1. In case of a “Procura Speciale” (Special Power of Attorney), the principal can give limited powers to the attorney/agent. If, for instance, you are purchasing an estate in Italy. However, you cannot be on-site on the day to sign the deed. You can bestow the power to sign such deed on your attorney/agent.
2. A General Power of Attorney (Procura Generale) entitles your agent to do almost anything you could do.
In what circumstances can you revoke a Procura?
Both Procura Special and Procura Generale terminate if the principal dies or becomes legally “incapable”. However, if necessary, you can terminate it at any time. This is done by means of the same legal document used to confer it.
What should I consider before appointing an agent/attorney?
If you are considering granting a procura, you should be extremely careful about whom you chose as an agent/attorney. You are delegating the very management of your affairs to someone else. Hence, it is extremely important that you entrust a reliable and competent person with this delicate task, preferably a professional. Conferring Power of Attorney to someone who does not have enough experience or that you might have a conflict of interest with is not advisable.
What are the legal requirements to issue a power of attorney?
A Procura is a formal document with many legal requirements.
Generally, the competent authorities carefully examine it before releasing it. The agent will need to sign the Procura in their home country in the presence of a public officer. The USA, UK and Australia have signed The Hague Convention of 5th October 1961. This abolished the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. In any case, an Apostille Certificate or Stamp, also known as the Hague Apostille, is required as proof of authenticity. Ensure to check the pertinent procedures with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the US Department of State and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A Power of Attorney is a very delicate matter. You are granting your rights and the handling of your affairs to someone else. Make sure to seek the help of a professional before drawing up a Procura.
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