If you need someone to act on your behalf in legal matters then you will probably need to issue a power of attorney. This formal document provides another person with the authority to act on your behalf for a specific purpose or may be issued for general use in many matters.
Issuing a power of attorney is common practice in both business and personal proceedings when you need someone to act on your behalf. Using a power of attorney in another country can save people the time and expense of travelling abroad to deal with legal issues.
When issuing power of attorney (POA) to an overseas solicitor, lawyer, notary or agent you may be asked to obtain an apostille on the document. In addition if the country where the document is to be presented is not a member of The Hague Convention then you may also need to obtain further embassy attestation stamps.
How to prepare a power of attorney?
In most cases you will be supplied with the POA by the person overseas that needs to act on your behalf. Your document will need to be signed in the presence of a UK Solicitor or Notary Public. They will witness you sign the document and then add their own signature and stamp. The solicitor should add the comment ‘witnessed by’ or ‘signed before me’ or a similar statement to confirm they saw you sign the document.
Solicitors typically charge £10 to £20 to certify a document whilst a Notary Public may charge £50 to £100 for the same service. Check your document to see if it requires solicitor certification or a notary public’s signature. If your document clearly refers to a notary public signing the document then we recommend you visit a notary to avoid any problems when presenting your document.
If you have not been provided with a draft power of attorney document you may need to contact a solicitor to arrange for a bespoke document to be created.
Once the document has been correctly signed the apostille can be issued. This should be completed in just a couple of working days and returned back to you. The apostille will confirm the signatory on the document is a recognised solicitor or notary.
Often documents will need further certification at one of the embassies in London. If you are not sure if your document needs further embassy attestation please check if the country you will be using the document in is a member of the Hague Convention. If you are not sure how to proceed please contact us for assistance.