What is an international power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else - your “attorney” - the power to act on your behalf.
If you are living in one country but have property and finances in another country, you may need to arrange for a power of attorney for someone - your attorney - to act as your representative and manage your property and finances. This is also known as an international power of attorney, or an overseas power of attorney.
For example, you regularly reside in Ontario, but you bought a holiday home in Spain. You may need to appoint a power of attorney in Spain to take care of your holiday home. Or you recently moved to Ontario from Australia for a year, and you need to appoint a power of attorney in Australia to manage your finances.
In this blog post, we will be discussing international powers of attorney for property, and how you can get one in Ontario.
Powers of attorney for property
A continuing power of attorney for property lets your attorney manage your financial affairs and allows the person you name to act for you even if you become mentally incapable. This includes managing your bank accounts, making bill and rent payments and making purchases on your behalf. A continuing power of attorney for property means that a person you trust will be able to oversee your finances when you are unable to.
A non-continuing power of attorney for property lets your attorney manage your financial affairs and allows the person you name to act for you in a specific situation for a specific length of time. You can outline the specific tasks your attorney is allowed to do on your behalf, and for how long.
Non-continuing powers of attorney for property are commonly used when a person is going out of the country, or resides in a different country, and needs someone to take care of their finances and property while they are away.
Step 1: Prepare the international power of attorney
A power of attorney is governed by the laws of the country where the power of attorney will be used. For example, if you are appointing a power of attorney to take care of your financial matters in Vietnam, the power of attorney must comply with the laws in Vietnam.
Every country has its own legal requirements for powers of attorney. This may include specific forms or formats, wording and signing requirements.
The best way to ensure that your international power of attorney meets the local legal requirements is to have a lawyer in that jurisdiction write the power of attorney for you.
Step 2: Sign and notarize your power of attorney
Generally, international powers of attorney must be notarized to verify that the signature on the document is real. Notarizing your power of attorney is simple: you sign the power of attorney in front of a notary, and the notary then signs and seals it.
It’s a good idea to ask your lawyer to provide clear instructions for signing and notarizing your international power of attorney. For example, it may be a legal requirement for the power of attorney to be signed with a specific colour of ink, or it may require more than one witness.
Your international power of attorney may also need to be authenticated and legalized. This process is also known as apostille. Authentication and legalization is the process used to make documents notarized in Canada valid for use outside of Canada. This is the equivalent to apostille, which is not performed in Canada.
If you are not sure if your international power of attorney needs to be authenticated and legalized, or apostilled, ask the lawyer who prepared your international power of attorney.
Can Downtown Notary help me with my international power of attorney?
Yes, we can! Downtown Notary can easily notarize your international power of attorney.
If you need your international power of attorney authenticated and legalized, Downtown Notary can also help with that! Downtown Notary can provide you with all three steps - notarization, authentication and legalization - quickly and easily. There's no need to make multiple appointments for each service - we can do it all for you!