What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a mandate which is given in writing before a notary, public and executed as a deed by the person who is giving the power of attorney, in favour of a third party (attorney).
It is a practical and common way of delegating authority. By virtue of the power of attorney, the attorney is legally authorised to carry out certain acts on the donor’s behalf, which will have legal implications for the donor. I.e. the person who is given power of attorney can attend the Notary if the donor cannot do so.
The identity of the donor will be always be verified by the notary upon execution of the power of attorney. At the foot of the document, the notary authorising the power of attorney will make a statement as to the donor understanding the contents and effects of the document and as to the document being executed before him.
What are the contents of a power of attorney?
The powers that are given by the donor may differ significantly depending on the transaction or legal act for which the power of attorney is necessary (civil or criminal litigation, property transactions, corporate transactions, inheritance matters, etc.).
Spanish powers of attorney normally give the donor very broad powers to deal with the specific transaction. For example, a power of attorney for the purchase of the property will often include clauses allowing the attorney to open, close and operate bank accounts, set up direct debits, make payments for the account, arrange utility contracts, pay taxes, submit forms and send and receive notifications to and from different authorities.
This is mainly done for practical reasons so that the attorney may carry out all the necessary completion and post-completion arrangements. It would be very inconvenient for the donor if he had to authorise each arrangement separately. However, the donor is always free to instruct the notary to limit the scope of the power of attorney as much as he wishes.
How do you arrange a Power of Attorney in Spain?
If you are in Spain, you can access this website which will show you where your nearest Notary is and you will be able to make an appointment at a time that is most convenient to yourself.
You will need to explain to the notary’s clerk the purposes of the Power of Attorney and provide your and your attorney’s personal details (full name, passport or ID number, address, marital status). When you attend the notary’s office always bring your passport with you.
How to arrange a Power of Attorney in the UK?
Contact your nearest Spanish Consulate, they will provide you with a list of English notaries specialised in Spanish matters. You can visit this website below to find where your nearest notary is located in the UK.
Roughly how much it costs?
A notary practising in the UK may charge in the area of £250 plus VAT for drafting a bilingual Power of Attorney and witnessing its execution by the donor/s.
If the Power of Attorney has already been prepared by a Spanish Lawyer, the notary would only charge for witnessing the execution of the documents and his/her fee may vary between £90 and £150 plus VAT depending on the area where the notary’s offices are based.
Please note that Powers of Attorney executed before an English notary will need to be legalised with The Hague Convention Apostille (at the Legalisations Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in order to be valid in Spain.
Your notary will be able to arrange legalisation but he/she will charge an administration fee (in the area of £30 plus VAT.) You will also be responsible for payment of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s fees which amount to £27 per document.