Powers of Attorney for Use in Spain

Powers of Attorney are really useful documents allowing somebody else to do things on your behalf. When should you make one? Who should you appoint? How do you make a Power? What does it cost? How long does it take?

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This guide covers…

This guide is about how Powers of Attorney (“Powers”) must be prepared for use in Spain.

It describes, in particular, how to deal with a Power of Attorney in the area of Andalusia/Andalucía – which contains the Costa del Sol. See a map here. Please note that certain aspects of the law in Spain vary from one “autonomous community” (comunidad autónomalightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject to another.

Introduction

Here in Spain we use Powers of Attorney a lot. This is to save our clients from having to come here – often at inconvenient times – to sign documents or take various administrative steps. Fortunately, the process is quite simple – at least at our end!

We use them mainly for people setting up businesses or buying houses in Spain and for dealing with court cases in Spain. However, they can be used for lots of other purposes.

Video guide to Powers of Attorney in Spain

You can learn about Powers of Attorney in Spain by watching this full-length interview (below) with Spanish legal expert Mari Carmen, or by scrolling down and reading the detailed guide that she has written with us.

The video guide below is a playlist – split into several parts. One part will play right after the other.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (“Power”) is a legal document that authorises another person (The Attorney) to do something such as signing a document, opening a bank account or attending a meeting on your behalf and with your full authority.

The Attorney appointed under a Power of Attorney does not need to be an attorney/lawyer.

Powers of Attorney come in different types for different purposes.

Who should you appoint as your Attorney in Spain?

Who to appoint as your Attorney is entirely up to you.

Because this causes some confusion, I repeat that the Attorney appointed under a Power of Attorney does not need to be an attorney/lawyer.

However, it very often is. This is because it is often the lawyer who will be preparing the documents that need to be signed or dealing with the administrative steps (opening a bank account, filing a tax return, signing a deed of title or contract, etc).

Another good reason for appointing your lawyer is that lawyers have very strong obligations to you as their client and so should not abuse the powers given to them.

However, in some cases you might want to appoint somebody else. for example, if you are giving a Power of Attorney to run a business, you will probably appoint an executive in that business. In other cases (such as if you are unable to attend to sign a title deed), you might appoint your wife or another family member to sign on your behalf.

Generally, however, it is likely to be your lawyer. In fact, more often, several lawyers in your lawyers office so that things don’t come to a grinding halt if your own lawyer is away on business or on holiday.

The process of getting a Power of Attorney in Spain

Spain is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1961 – “The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents”. This is also sometimes known as the Apostille Convention. Read about it here.

See the list of Hague convention countries here.

If you live in a country that is also a signatory, the process of granting a Power of Attorney is quite straightforward.

See the Global Guide to Powers of Attorney for details of which countries are signatories and more information about how to grant a Power.

The starting point

Your lawyer in Spain will draft the necessary Power on your behalf. This will be after discussing your requirements.

It is important that it contains all of the necessary clauses and so this is not something you should do yourself.

The terms of the Power – the authorities it gives to the person appointed – are usually quite wide to make sure that everything that we might need to do is covered. The authorities here are quite strict in the way they interpret Powers of Attorney and so, if something is not specifically authorised, they are likely to refuse to accept it for that purpose. That can involve you in significant losses or extra cost.

The Power must be in Spanish. However, some Notaries will sign Powers in dual language form so that you will understand the document – and you will save the cost of a sworn translation.

Your lawyer should send you a draft of the Power. We do this in Word format so that you can send it on to your local Notary for witnessing (see below).

If you live in a Hague Convention Country

See the list of Hague convention countries here.

When you receive the Power, you should contact a convenient local Notary and arrange for that Notary to incorporate the text that your lawyer in Spain has sent within a document that meets the needs of your country.

The process is then as described in our Global Guide to Powers of Attorney.

Once the Power has been signed and legalised, send the original to your lawyer in Spain by courier (UPD, DHL, DPD etc). Our postal service in Spain is quite good but things can get lost and it takes quite a lot of time and money to replace a lost Power.

If you DON’T live in a Hague Convention Country

The process is more complicated. You will have to ask your local Notary exactly what is required.

Once all of the formalities required to permit the use of the Power in Spain have been completed, send the original to your lawyer in Spain by courier.

What does it cost to make a Power of Attorney in Spain?

This varies a lot depending upon the length and complexity of the document and whether you live in a Hague Convention country. your lawyer will be able to give you an estimate in your particular case.

Conclusion

Powers of Attorney are a really useful tool and pretty simple to prepare. It saves you the cost of travelling every time your signature is required, and gives you peace of mind as you know that there is someone that can take care of things when speedy action is required.

You may also want to read:

European Directory of Notaries

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