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How to legalise a power of attorney for use in overseas jurisdiction?

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Power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to act on the behalf of the actual person in particular circumstances for a specific time period which is mentioned in the terms and conditions of the Power of attorney.

There are two types of a power of attorney: general power of attorney (POA) and lasting powers of attorney (LPA). A POA provides legal permission to someone else (the ‘attorney’) to make decisions and to sign documents on someone else’s behalf; the LPA allows someone to appoint an attorney to deal with property and financial affairs, or to medical and welfare decisions if a person loses their mental capacity.

A power of attorney for use in overseas jurisdiction may be important for various reasons. For example, a person who lives in one country could have interests, such as property, or bank accounts, in another country. Therefore, it is important for a power of attorney to be used in an overseas jurisdiction to represent an individual’s interest. This is particularly important for those who may not be able to travel in order to maintain their affairs. 

Though the simplest, and often cheapest, thing to do would be to appoint an attorney in the secondary jurisdiction. However, it may be preferred to legalise a local power of attorney for use in overseas jurisdiction.

In some countries, the POA or LPA may have to be translated into the local language in order for it to be used and some jurisdictions will require an ‘apostille’ to be affixed to it by the Foreign Commonwealth office so that it can be used. A full list of jurisdictions that follow the ‘apostille’ procedure can be found here: https://www.hagueapostille.co.uk/hague-members.  This is a certificate attached to the document that confirms that the signature, seal or stamp on the document is genuine.

The apostille is issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and can by applied for by any individual or organisation here: https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised. Though, usually the notary or the solicitor has to witness the signer, signing the document after understanding all the legal limitations, liabilities and responsibilities and to pledge that he is doing it willingly and is not taking the decision under any sort of pressure. After the signature, the notary certifies the document by signing and stating the date and time of the procedure, on the document along with endorsing it with his stamp. After the Power of attorney has been certified from the notary or solicitor it can be sent to the apostille (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) for the validation and legalisation. 

Though many overseas jurisdictions follow the ‘apostille’ method to affirm and legalise documents for the use of overseas jurisdiction, not all jurisdictions do. In this case further steps may be required. Most commonly the respective embassy to the country where the power of attorney is sought to have the overseas jurisdiction will need to legalise the use and stamp the document. 

The Legalisation Office are currently offering a limited service due to the coronavirus pandemic. If the application is urgent an email can be sent to [email protected] Include scans of your documents and explain your request and why it is urgent.

Should you require any additional information in relation to Power of Attorney  then please get in touch at [email protected] or call our team on 0330 127 8888 and our team will be more than happy to help.

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