Lawyer Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt explains what a Power of Attorney is, who needs it and how to get one.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of June 2017
On buying property in Spain, your appointed solicitor will suggest you sign a power of attorney (POA) giving him power to act on your behalf.
In this article I will explain briefly, strictly from a conveyancing point of view, the usefulness of signing a conveyance POA over to your lawyer.
What is a Power of Attorney?
It is a deed witnessed by a Notary public whereby a grantor (principal) confers a mandate to a third person (agent) to act on his behalf. The principal is bound by the actions carried out by his agent.
What types of POA are there?
Broadly speaking, there are several. For this article’s sake, I will only focus on conveyancing POA. But there are many more used in litigation, to administrate the estate of mentally unsound individuals (legally incapacitated), inheritance matters, lasting power of attorney, corporate, investments etc.
Content of a POA
POA can be either specific or broad.
An example of a specific POA can confer a mandate to apply for a NIE number on behalf of a client.
An example of a broad POA is one which confers ample powers to administer the estate of someone.
Specific Focus on Conveyancing POA
Conveyancing POA are usually limited. Your conveyancer will normally require all the below bullet points:
- Apply for a NIE number.
- Open a Spanish bank account.
- Agree terms and sale´s price.
- Buy a property (signing of deeds before a Notary public).
- Take on a mortgage.
- Completion and filing of tax forms.
- Arranging registration of deeds at the Land Registry.
- Setting up utilities on your behalf (water, electricity, landline).
- Arranging direct debits on your behalf i.e. Community of Owners.
Where can a POA be Arranged?
- In Spain. You can grant a POA before a Spanish Notary public whilst you are in Spain. This is usually the fastest and cheapest option.
- Abroad, for example in England. Notwithstanding the above, at times buyers cannot make travelling arrangements and it may be easier for them to organize the signing of a POA in their home country. Your Spanish lawyer can draft a POA and e-mail it to you. You can then have it witnessed by a UK Notary. A POA granted in the UK or in the ROI requires affixed the Apostille seal of the The Hague Convention for it to be executable in Spain. We can recommend you UK-based notaries which are familiar with the whole procedure and who can fast-track it within the law.
Terminating a POA
Powers of attorney can be revoked at any given moment if needed be.
Whilst powers of attorney are most useful in practice, it is important to note that you should fully understand the faculties you are empowering someone with and feel confident on their performance.
In our law firm, we draft POA in double column, English & Spanish, for your peace of mind so that you know exactly what powers you are signing over to one of our lawyers.
To close, I strongly advise not to give POA to non-family members who are neither registered nor qualified to practice law; specifically, broad powers on money matters.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton.
19th century aristocratic British politician, historian and writer. He was a libertarian that considered political liberty the essential condition. Famous for this very quote.
Article also published at Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers: Power of Attorney Explained.
Our law firm charges €175 plus VAT for a POA service. This fee is deductible on hiring our conveyance service.
Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you:
- Power of Attorney.
- Conveyancing – Buying.
- NIE Number (Tax Identification Number).
- Fiscal Representation (Non-Resident Income Tax).
Conveyancing related articles
- Buying Resale Property in Spain – 21st February 2013
- Buying Off-Plan Property in Spain – 8th of June 2013
- How to Buy Commercial Property in Spain – 4th July 2014
- How to Buy Rural Property in Spain – 8th August 2014
- How to Buy Property in Spain Safely – 10th October 2014
- House Hunting in Spain – 17th June 2015. The New York Times
- Taxes on Buying Spanish Property – 8th July 2015
- Non-Resident Taxes in Spain – 8th December 2015
- Buying Property in Spain – 10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer – 8th November 2016
- Buying Property in Spain from a Private Seller (Resale Property) – 21st of February 2017
- Buying Property in Spain from a Developer (Off-Plan Property) – 8th March 2017
- NIE Number Explained – 8th May 2017
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2.017 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.
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