Powers of Attorney in Turkey

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises another person to do something such as signing a document, opening a bank account, or attending a meeting on your behalf and with your full (or, at least, some limited but defined) authority.

The contents of a Power vary a lot depending upon what it is to be used for. However, the process of making one is always the same.

Here in Turkey we use Powers of Attorney a lot. This is to save our clients from having to come here, often at inconvenient times, to do things that might be just procedural. Fortunately, the process is quite simple, at least at our end!

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

The Process of making a Power of Attorney in Turkey

Granting and signing the Power in Turkey

Your lawyer will, working with a local Notary, prepare the Power of Attorney. They will make sure it contains all the necessary clauses to allow your transaction to proceed smoothly.

They will make an appointment for you to attend at the Notary’s office to sign the document. They will often accompany you at that appointment.

The Notary will then register a copy of the Power in his archive and give you an original copy of it.

You then give the document to the person you have appointed to sign for you. This will, often, be your lawyer.

That’s it. Simple! Better still, it’s (relatively) cheap.

Granting and signing the Power in another country

Sometimes it might not be convenient or possible for you to be in Turkey to sign a Power of Attorney.

Turkey is a signatory to The Hague Convention of 1961 – ‘The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents’. If you live in a country that is also a signatory (and most are), the process of granting a Power of Attorney is quite straightforward.

You can find a full list of the Hague Convention signatories on the relevant Wikipedia page.

The Starting Point

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

It is important that it contains all 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 to take steps for you – 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 and clearly authorised, they are likely to refuse to accept the Power for that purpose.

The Power must be in Turkish. My firm always prepares Powers in dual language form – in Turkish and in your language – so that you will understand what they say!

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

If you live in a Hague Convention Country

When you receive the Power, contact a convenient local Notary and arrange the Notary to incorporate the text we have sent you within a document that meets the needs of your country. Notaries will know what this is. They are very familiar with the whole process.

They will also need certain information about you: proof of your identity, proof of your address etc. Exactly what varies from country to country.

The Notary will then ask you to come to sign the finished document. This will usually be the next working day.

When you attend to sign the document, you must take proof of your identity (your passport) and of your address (typically, two documents such as bank statements or utility bills in your name), together – sometimes – with four passport size photographs: required for Powers to be used for transferring the ownership of land. The precise documents that you will need to take with you will vary depending upon the country in which you are signing the Power. The Notary will tell you exactly what is needed.

Once the document has been signed it will need to be ‘legalised’. This process involves sending it to the appropriate body in your country. They certify that the Notary is qualified to deal with this document and that his signature on the document matches that in their records. Your Notary will usually arrange for this to be done on your behalf.

The Notary’s fee for doing all this varies enormously from country to country. It is seldom cheap. Allow €250. Make sure you ask for an estimate.

This can all take some time. Allow two weeks until you get the document back.

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

Allow a week for the Power to reach Turkey.

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. They will be familiar with the requirements.

Once all the formalities required to permit the use of the Power in Turkey have been completed, send the original to us by courier, as above.

Do you really want to use a Power of Attorney?

The cost of preparing Powers of Attorney is quite high. For many people – provided they have the time – it can be cheaper to come out to Turkey for a few days to sign the documents here in person rather than appointing someone to do so on their behalf using a Power of Attorney.

There are some downsides to doing this: for example, if the arrangements change at the last minute (for example, the signing is delayed for a week) you may no longer be available and you can be in some difficulty. This does happen: quite often. Also, as the transactions will be in Turkish, you may not feel confident about signing, even with a translator, since you most likely would not understand the process.

If you decide to sign in person and, having come to Turkey, for some reason you cannot remain until the document is finally ready, you can still prepare a Power of Attorney whilst you are over here, at a fraction of the cost of doing so in your own country because the document does not need to be legalised.

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