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Italian Power of Attorney for individuals resident in the UK
If you have properties, bank accounts, or any particular connection with Italy, you may be required to travel there to carry out specific tasks in person, such as applying for or extinguishing a mortgage, dealing with probate, or selling a property.
However, what happens if you cannot or do not want to go to Italy in person? In these circumstances, you may wish to appoint one or more individuals to deal with those tasks on your behalf by way of a Power of Attorney (POA), in Italian a “procura”.
An Italian POA allows you to appoint someone else to conduct any personal or business affairs in Italy on your behalf as a “representative” or “attorney”, therefore granting them authority to legally represent you, either individually or jointly.
POAs can be as general or specific as you wish. They can include the power to handle all aspects of a specific affair (e.g. in the sale/purchase of a property: negotiating and determining the sale/purchase price, applying for and signing an Italian mortgage loan, signing the relevant deeds etc.) or they can be limited to one specific task (e.g. signing the deed of sale). As such, you can complete all the required formalities for your Italian property purchase without being present in Italy.
If you are resident or temporarily located in the UK, you can appoint an Italian lawyer in the UK, or contact the Italian Consulate, who can prepare a POA for you in compliance with the formalities necessary to make it valid in Italy (N.B. a law firm can often guarantee a shorter timeframe to prepare your POA whereas public offices usually take longer).
The effects of a POA can cease in the following circumstances:
- revocation from the person who originally granted it
- expiration – the POA is valid until a certain date
- if a certain event occurs (e.g. the death of the person who granted it)
- when a specific act or acts for which the POA was granted have been completed
- if the attorney(s) become incapacitated or bankrupt
- if the person who granted the POA becomes incapacitated
Please note that the above list is not exhaustive.
Formalization and Effects
In the UK, a Power of Attorney or Procura must be signed by an individual before a Notary Public. Furthermore, to be valid in Italy, a notarised POA must then be apostilled in order to certifiy that a foreign authority has the power to sign a public document. This ensures that the document can be legally valid and used outside the country of issue.
It’s important to consider the following points when deciding between an Italian or English POA:
- An Italian Power of Attorney is no longer valid if the person who granted it becomes incapacitated, unlike English Lasting Powers of Attorney (for property and financial affairs)
- In Italy, if an individual loses or has limited capacity (capacita’ di agire), an order from the Courts is required to appoint someone to act on their behalf, or to deal with their personal and financial circumstances
- An English LPA or EPA may not be accepted in Italy (despite its notarisation and legalisation), so a Court Order may therefore be necessary to enforce it
Should you require advice on Italian Powers of Attorney and their effects and use in Italy, please do contact us as we will be happy to assist.