Power of Attorney (Procura)
When you buy a property in Italy you could need to use a “Procura” (Power of Attorney, or simple called PoA).
The power of attorney can be used for many purpose, one of this is to buy or sell Italian property. A Power of Attorney (PoA) is document which allows an individual (the “principal”) to grant another person (a trusted person) the power to act on his or her behalf and represent him or her legally.
There are two types of PoA in Italy:
The principal gives limited powers to an appointed person. This last one can only conduct specified tasks on behalf of the principal. For example, for an Italian property purchase, if you cannot be in Italy to complete the sale, you can grant this power to your appointed agent who can then sign the deed of sale on your behalf. It is used in the case you have no time to come for any reason or in case of last pandemic. It’s often used even if you can be present to attend the final deed: this applies when the principal does not speak Italian and his/her signature is required in front of an Italian notary public. More specifically, 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 present for the entire duration of the meeting. This is the type of PoA we apply for our clients and its validity ends when the final deed is signed. It’s not possible for us to sign the PoA, this is to avoid any conflicts of interest, so we recommend a trusted people we know very well and it’s now used to make this for all our clients, to sign the Special PoA.
The principal grants a wide range of powers to their agent. In effect, the agent can do almost anything the principal could do.
The principal can revoke either type of PoA at any time.
The PoA as said is in Italian and in the language of the principal.
Both Special PoA and General PoA terminate if the principal dies or becomes legally “incapable”. However, if necessary, you can terminate it at any time. This is done by means of the same legal document used to confer it, but as said, for the Special PoA it ends with the complete of the purchase process (it’s clearly written in the same PoA).
A power of attorney can be signed abroad in your country. It’s enough to sign it in front of any foreign Public Notary or a solicitor there who speaks Italian too, who will authenticate the signature. After this, an Apostille is necessary to complete the POA made abroad. The Apostille is a stamp that is placed on a document by a designated competent authority. The stamp should read, “Apostille” and confirms that an official source has issued your document and that the receiving country can accept the document as authentic. Each State has a different Authority which issue the Apostille: the consulate or the embassy, National Apostille office, Government office or Tribunal.
For example, in the UK, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office provides apostille services. In the USA, the U.S Department of State is responsible. In other countries you should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The estimated timing to prepare a Power of Attorney and Apostille is different in each country, usually it takes from 2 to 4 weeks.