The power of attorney in Spain

Buying your property whilst abroad

Conveyancing Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The power of attorney in Spain

If you are wanting to buy a property in Spain but are finding it difficult to spend the necessary time out here, there are other options.

Not everyone finds it convenient to spend time waiting for the lawyers to complete the necessary searches, checks and contracts. Perhaps particularly the case if you are buying a holiday home in Spain. Your time is precious and your ideal holiday does not consist of trailing to the solicitors and back.

One option is to take out a  power of attorney in Spain. The power of attorney (Poder Notarial) is a means of enabling the legal process to continue without you actually being in Spain yourself. You can nominate a trusted individual who will represent you in specified transactions and this is recorded as a legal document that must be signed in the presence of a Spanish notary.

The use of a power of attorney (POA) isn’t confined to Spain. It is a useful way of acting on someone else’s behalf that is deployed in many countries for many different reasons. If you have elderly parents, for example, who are finding it difficult to manage their finances, taking out a power of attorney, whereby you can carry out transactions on their behalf, is incredibly useful.

A power of attorney can be as wide or as narrow as you want it to be. You define exactly how much ‘power’ you are allocating. The documentation can clearly indicate the limitations. For example, if you only want a solicitor to be able to act in your interests for the purpose of signing the documentation for a house purchase.

Helping obtain an NIE

One time when many people have found the power of attorney to be particularly useful is when they have needed a Spanish NIE. This might be prior to purchasing a house in Spain or as a result of being bequeathed property. You cannot complete a significant financial transaction without having an NIE in Spain, either as a resident or a non-resident.

The NIE might be an important document but it is still a long way to travel to obtain one, if you don’t live in Spain and haven’t a trip planned, this is where the power of attorney comes in.

How to get a power of attorney

You can obtain the power of attorney either in your home country or in Spain. So, if you do spot your ideal property on the last day of your holiday it is possible to return home and make the arrangements from there.

When you are in your own country

Your solicitor in Spain will draft a document in both languages so that the Notary in your own country can witness you signing it and knows what it says. Alternatively if you live near the Spanish Embassy in your own country a POA can be made by the Notary there. The power of attorney will be validated by the Foreign office who will stamp it with the seal of the Apostille of the Hague.

The Apostille of the Hague is a stamp used to legalise procedures and ensure that they are valid between different countries. It means that official documents can be shared across borders with the confidence that they are legally valid.

When you are in Spain

If you are in Spain you can go directly to the Spanish Notary’s office where the Power of Attorney will be authorised. This document will be written in Spanish so if you want to be sure what it says then you will need a translation.

Once your representative has the power of attorney they can continue to put your purchase in motion right through to completion whilst you continue with your ordinary business at home.

More information

This article is based upon the information supplied in our property conveyancing handbook; ‘Buying a property in Spain’.

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