POA for property purchase Italy
What is a Power of Attorney? Why can it be useful for a foreigner aiming to purchase, or sell, property in Italy?
A power of attorney (POA) is a formal legal unilateral document which gives a person legal authority to make decisions and/or act on behalf of another person, and/or represent this person, in matters concerning his/her property, finances, and even medical care.
Specifically, with the Power of Attorney a person, called the principal, appoints another, called the representative, to represent him/her and operate on his/her behalf.
Investors and entrepreneurs are well aware that buying and selling property in Italy are not simple matters, and that being familiar with the local real estate market is not enough.
To comply with current legislation, in fact, one needs to be cognizant about local rules, procedures, legal dos and don’ts, and bureaucracy.
Handling the negotiation, and drafting and finalizing the mandatory legal documents implied, is also vital. Minimizing legal requirements and red tape logistics is never a good idea, yet mastering them may be hard for a foreigner.
The best way to ensure all proceedings are carried out correctly is appointing an experienced professional to represent you, and finalize dealings on your behalf timely and cost-effectively.
To be legally valid and binding a Power of Attorney which concerns the sale and purchase of real estate properties must be duly executed in writing and authenticated by a public notary.
There are different kinds of Power of Attorney acts, depending on how broad or limited the representation they allow for is.
A specific power of attorney act is either classified as general or as special. A general power of attorney allows the representative to implement a variety of legal actions by liaising with diverse third parties on behalf of the principal. Cases in which this type of act is appropriate and sensible are those which concern tending to the principal’s legal affairs on a variety of matters, or acting on the principal’s behalf for a sequel of different actions. A special power of attorney, instead, refers to the realization of one determined action or signing of a single specific deed with a given third party. This is quite a common case in the field of property purchase, where often the power of attorney has legal effect only as concerns a single pre-established action or deed. In a nutshell: each power of attorney’s limits are defined by each act, and may concern various aspects of it: the type of legal action or actions the representative will carry out, or the third parties implied in the legal relationships the representative will undertake, or the underlying conditions these relationships will be based upon and regulated by.
Should a representative bring about any legal action which exceeds the rights as ascribed via the given power of attorney, he/she will be liable for all consequences. The principal may, in such a case, decide to ratify the actions carried out by the representative. In this instance the ratification will be retroactive: the legal consequences will occur only if no excess of representative power or violation has taken place.
As specifically concerns the purchase of real estate power of attorney acts are generally issued for all that concerns negotiation and signing of the legal documents implied. In detail, documents which may be drafted and enforced via a power of attorney are:
- the preliminary contract, indicating the price of the property as negotiated and the conditions which will have to to be met prior to the deal’s finalization. As often happens there may be a deposit payment requested, and the preliminary contract will be subject to registration.
- the final deed, to be signed by the two involved parties. Pursuant Italian law this final document is to be finalized before a public notary. The notary’s main role is to enunciate the contract out loud, to ensure both parties understand and agree upon its provisions, see that both parties willfully sign it and finally authenticate it.
Clearly all the above steps, and especially the signing of the final deed, call for the buyer’s physical presence. In alternative however, the buyer may appoint a representative. Having a trustworthy, bilingual, experienced professional to represent one on site offers a variety of advantages. Not only does it prove to be time and cost-effective, because it allows the foreign purchaser to avoid time-consuming and expensive journeys back on forth, it also ensures perfect understanding of the legal fine-print and removes hindrances due to the language barrier.
Ultimately, a local professional with long-standing experience can be appointed to set up and manage an escrow account, a special bank account used for property-related payments, thus facilitating all payments involved in the deal.
Savvy real estate agents, skilled lawyers, accountants, architects and surveyors… our specialized pro team are at foreing investors’ complete service to facilitate each and every step of finding, surveying and buying their preferred Italian property.
Once our clients find the best options with the assistance of our real estate agents, and select their preference, we share our insight and local expertise with them, and facilitate proceedings drafting a first offer, negotiating the price, drafting and negotiating the preliminary contract and its conditions. Finally we represent our clients’ before the chosen notary public, guaranteeing their best interest is satisfied at all times.