Q. I am in the process of purchasing an Italian property. I currently have several key legal matters to address but I do not have an Italian lawyer representing me at this point. Unfortunately, I do not have time to fly to Italy. Would it be possible for someone else to represent me and formalize the purchase on my behalf so I can avoid travelling back and forth?
A. It is absolutely possible to have someone complete the Italian property purchase on your behalf by drafting a legally valid international Power of Attorney. A power of attorney gives another person the ability to legally formalize the property purchase on your behalf. You can grant an Italian lawyer (avvocato), or any other person you trust, the power to represent you and act on your behalf in all necessary circumstances. The power of attorney can be as vast or restricted as you need, meaning that it can be limited to one specific circumstance, or cover all instances where your presence and signature would be necessary. In this manner you can complete all formalities necessary for your Italian property purchase without being present in Italy.
The power of attorney can even be drafted in your home country. Please be aware, however, that in 2011 Italian consular policies changed and non-Italian citizens are no longer allowed to validate a power of attorney at the Italian Consulate or Italian Embassy. There are however alternative options which entail using a home country notary or solicitor, depending on the home country’s pertinent laws.
Our office has successfully drafted and internationally validated of hundreds of international powers of attorney. These documents have been for diverse matters such as to buy or sell Italian property, to incorporate Italian companies, to execute Italian inheritance procedures, to formalize inheritance property transfers, and to accept or refuse Italian inheritance. Based on this experience, our firm has established procedures for non-Italian (as well as Italian) citizens located abroad, for instance in the UK, Ireland or the U.S.A., to complete an international power of attorney valid for use in Italy entirely via email and courier. Depending on the country and the specific circumstances, this can be carried out in as fast as five business days.
We handle the international powers of attorney in the following manner to provide our clients with the smoothest process possible:
- Italian lawyers of the firm’s international department consult with the client to understand their needs and then advise on which powers to grant and to whom.
- The power of attorney is drafted to address the specific case circumstances.
- The process to legitimize the power of attorney for use in Italy is established. Each country, and sometimes even each state as is the case in the U.S.A., has different requirements to formalize an international power of attorney. This means that the process varies from client to client not only in accordance with their needs, but also with their location at the time of the formalization. Based on the client’s location, the legal team researches the appropriate procedure to follow and establishes the easiest means for the client to carry out the formalization.
- Any necessary letters or forms are drafted by our office.
- Specific step-be-step instructions are drafted for the client to carry out the formalization procedure in the easiest and quickest way possible.
We then send all documents to the client via email. Typically, the power of attorney is signed in front of a local notary public and then returned to our offices along with the other materials via postal service. Our Italian lawyers then carry out the necessary steps to render the international power of attorney valid in Italy.
It is important to bear in mind that, even if our office can handle the power of attorney validation process quickly, given that the international post as well as other bureaucratic offices are involved, depending on the circumstances, the full formalization process can take up to a few weeks. The involved timing mainly depends on factors such as the formalities required by the country where the power of attorney is signed and the related applicable domestic and international treaties and regulations.
For your reference, we have compiled information based on our experience in completing hundreds of international powers of attorney to provide you with an estimate of the time required. This list shows the country where the power of attorney is signed and the average time period needed for it to be finalized and ready to be used in front of Italian authorities.
Client Location Time to Finalize PoA
Ireland 1 to 2 weeks
UK 1 to 7 weeks
USA 2 to 6 weeks
Greece 3 to 6 weeks
Russia 3 to 6 weeks
Please note the time ranges above represent a period which starts when our offices receive confirmation of the power of attorney service and finishes when the international power of attorney is fully validated and ready to be used.
The longer completion times indicated above apply to standard procedures. Faster completion times can be achieved subject to certain extra costs, such as express courier charges.
Another important point to bear in mind is that the person appointed to act on your behalf must have an Italian tax code (codice fiscale). If the appointed person does not have an Italian tax code, one must be applied for and received prior to establishing the power of attorney. This will add additional time to that indicated in the table above.
Should you like to discuss your specific circumstances with our Italian attorneys, please click here.