Q Question: What it an Italian Power of Attorney? Can I have one done abroad to be used in Italy?
A Answer: A Power of Attorney is a document through which a person (the “principal“) gives another person (the “representative” or “attorney“) the authority to legally represent the principal in one or more affairs. Therefore, through a Power of Attorney (or “PoA”) you can appoint someone else to complete whatever personal or business affair in Italy on your behalf. The Power of Attorney can be prepared either in Italy or abroad. Also, in a Power of Attorney you can appoint one or more people to act on your behalf individually or jointly.
More specifically, a Power of Attorney gives a person the ability to legally represent such person in one or more affairs, including to formalize a property purchase contract. 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 the formalities required by the Italian law. A Power of Attorney can be as vast or restricted as you need, meaning that it can be limited to one specific formality, or can include the powers to handle all the aspects where your presence and signature would be necessary (for example, negotiate and determine the purchase price, declare personal circumstances, apply for tax reductions). You might even include the power to apply for and sign an Italian mortgage loan. In this manner you can complete all needed formalities for your Italian property purchase without being present in Italy.
An Italian Power of Attorney expires with the death or mental incapacity of the principal. The principal can also establish a specific validity duration in the Power of Attorney, for example, up to a certain date.
The Principal can also revoke an Italian Power of Attorney, except for some rare cases, for example when the PoA has been issued also in the interest of the principal.
A Power of Attorney to be used in Italy can be signed abroad, for example in your home country or wherever you are temporarily located. It used to be possible for anyone to do so at any Italian Consulates abroad. However, in 2011 Italian consular policies changed due to Italian Government budget cuts: Italian Consulates and Italian Embassies no longer provide non-Italian citizens with notarial authentication services, including regarding a Power of Attorney to be used in Italy. There are however suitable alternative options to sign a Power of Attorney document abroad. You can go to any foreign notary or commissioned solicitor (in Ireland, the UK or Australia) to authenticate a signature on a Power of Attorney.
Our office has successfully assisted foreign clients preparing hundreds of Powers of Attorney documents abroad. These documents have been prepared for all sorts of matters, such as to buy or sell Italian property, to incorporate Italian companies, to carry out Italian inheritance claims and cross-border successions procedures, to formalize inheritance property transfers, to accept or refuse Italian inheritance, to start a dispute in Italy.
It is also advisable to have a Power of Attorney done when a non Italian-speaking party is involved in a purchase to take place in Italy in front of an Italian notary public (e.g., property purchase or property sale), even if such non-Italian speaking party would be available to sign the deed in person. When a non-Italian speaking party is involved in person in a notarial deed (such as a property transaction), the law requires such deed to be drawn up in two languages, i.e., in Italian and in a language understood by the non-Italian speaking party. Also, the law requires that an interpreter is involved in the deed. These requirements have an impact on transaction costs. A notary completion meeting with a non-Italian speaking party lasts longer thus notaries charges higher fees. Also, there is interpreter’s fee. The cost to prepare a Power of Attorney document might be the same or less than the additional costs of in person signing. Also, a Power of Attorney allows more flexibility in the event of last minute need to reschedule completion.
Our firm has established procedures for people located abroad, for instance in the UK, Ireland, U.S.A., Australia, to complete an international Power of Attorney document valid for use in Italy entirely via email and courier. Our protocol in most cases does not involve Consular Offices which makes the process more flexible and easier for our Client. Depending on the country where the Power of Attorney document has to be signed and specific circumstances, this can be carried out in as fast as five business days. The cost for our service depends on several factors, such as geography, urgency, number of principals etc., starting at EUR 395 +taxes + stamp duty (EUR 32).
We handle the international Powers of Attorney process in a professional manner to provide our clients with the smoothest process possible, as follows:
– We consult with the client to understand the specific needs and advise on Power of Attorney powers and content;
– We receive the draft Power of Attorney from the Client or draft it based on Client’s specific needs;
– We advise and assist the Client to validate the Power of Attorney for use in Italy. Each country 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 depending on their location at the time of the formalization. Based on client’s location, the legal team defines the appropriate procedure to follow and establishes the easiest means for the client to carry out the formalization;
– We advise our Client with step-be-step information to carry out the formalization procedure in the easiest and quickest way possible;
– We send the PoA to the Client via email. Typically the Power of Attorney is signed in front of a local notary public where our client is located and then returned to our offices via postal service or courier;
– We carry out the necessary steps to make the international Power of Attorney valid in Italy.
Given that bureaucratic offices are involved, the full formalization process can take 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.
Based on our experience in completing hundreds of international Powers of Attorney documents, timing estimate from when we receive all needed information to when the Power of Attorney is finalized and ready to be used in Italy is as follows:
Client Location Average Time to Finalize a PoA
Ireland 1 to 2 weeks
UK 1 to 3 weeks
USA 2 to 4 weeks
Australia 2 to 4 weeks
Greece 3 to 6 weeks
Russia 3 to 6 weeks
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