The Importance of a Power of Attorney When Buying Property in Spain

24 May 2024 | Tags: , , ,

When buying property in Spain, navigating the legal and administrative processes can be daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with the system. One crucial tool that simplifies this process is the power of attorney (POA). This legal document, typically signed before a notary, grants someone the authority to act on your behalf for specific tasks.

In this blog and video, we’ll explore how a power of attorney can ease the process of buying a property in Spain and answer some common questions about its necessity.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to carry out certain powers or faculties on behalf of another person. For instance, when clients instruct us to assist with buying a property, we put a power of attorney in place to handle various tasks. These tasks might include:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Signing the purchase contract
  • Signing the deed of purchase
  • Signing an insurance contract
  • and more

Can You Buy a Spanish Property Without a Power of Attorney?

Yes, it is possible to buy a Spanish property without a power of attorney. However, this means you will be significantly more involved in the process and will need to be physically present in Spain. Here’s what you would need to do:

  • Apply for your N.I.E. (Número de Identidad de Extranjero): This requires an in-person visit to the police station in Spain.
  • Sign Contracts: You will need to be present to sign the purchase contracts and mortgage paperwork.
  • Attend Completion: You must be in Spain for the completion of the purchase.
  • Visit the Bank: If you have a mortgage, you must visit the bank to sign the mortgage paperwork the day before completion.
  • Without a power of attorney, you would also need to manage post-completion tasks yourself, such as setting up direct debits for utilities (water, electricity) and Town Hall rates.

Signing the Power of Attorney:

The power of attorney is signed before a notary, either in your home country or in Spain. It’s generally cheaper to sign it in Spain, where notaries typically need about 48 hours’ notice to schedule an appointment. Sometimes, shorter periods are possible.

How Does a Power of Attorney Simplify the Process?

A power of attorney makes the property buying process in Spain much smoother by allowing My Lawyer in Spain to handle essential tasks on your behalf. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Convenience: You do not need to travel to Spain multiple times. We can handle all the paperwork, including applying for your NIE, signing contracts, and completing the purchase; all though our online application process
  • Efficiency: The process flows more smoothly as your representative can act immediately on your behalf, reducing delays.
  • Post-Completion Management: We can set up direct debits for utilities and local taxes, ensuring everything is in order without you having to manage these tasks from abroad.

The Role of a Power of Attorney After Completion

After purchasing a property in Spain, several administrative tasks need to be completed. A power of attorney enables us to support you by:

  • Set up direct debits for water, electricity, and Town Hall rates
  • Submit the necessary documents for these utilities

If you do not provide a power of attorney, you will need to handle these tasks yourself, which can be challenging if you are not residing in Spain.

After the purchase has been completed and the property is registered in your name, we return the original deeds to you along with the original power of attorney. This is because, to carry out tasks in Spain, the original power of attorney is required. For example:

Should You Limit the Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney for purchasing property in Spain is generally limited to specific tasks related to that purchase. It is essential to understand that you can tailor the power of attorney in various ways:

  • Limit by Time: You can set an expiration date for the power of attorney. For example, it can be valid for a certain number of months or years, after which it will automatically expire.
  • Limit by Task: Typically, the power of attorney we put in place is for general tasks associated with buying a property in Spain, such as opening a bank account and paying taxes. However, it does not extend beyond these specific activities.

While it is possible to limit a power of attorney to a specific property, we generally do not recommend this. If you decide not to purchase the property for any reason, you would need to go through the entire process of obtaining a new power of attorney for a different property. Limiting the power of attorney by time is a more flexible approach, as it allows for adjustments without the need for a new document.

How to Revoke a Power of Attorney

Ending a power of attorney is straightforward. Here’s how you can do it:

To revoke the power of attorney, you go back to the notary and request the revocation. You will need to sign a deed of revocation, which the notary will then process. The notary will send a notice of revocation to the lawyers who were granted the power of attorney.

You can also send an email to your lawyers stating that you revoke the power of attorney and they should delete it from their system.

Post-Completion Process

If you wish to revoke the power of attorney, you can do so by returning to a notary and signing a deed of revocation. This ends the authority granted by the power of attorney. Ideally, by this time, you may already be living in Spain, making it easier to manage these legal formalities.

Important Considerations

When granting a power of attorney, it’s crucial to give it only to qualified professionals. We recommend giving it to lawyers who have confirmed their terms of business in writing, including their costs and confirmation of liability insurance. At My Lawyer in Spain, all our lawyers and the firm itself have liability insurance in place, ensuring you are protected if the power of attorney is misused. Avoid giving a power of attorney to estate agents, friends, or individuals who do not have professional liability insurance.

Other Types of Powers of Attorney

It’s important to note that the power of attorney for buying, selling, or inheriting property in Spain is distinct from other types of powers of attorney. For example, you can also grant powers of attorney to loved ones to manage your general affairs or make important medical decisions. These are separate legal instruments and are not covered by the property-related power of attorney discussed here.

While it is possible to buy a property in Spain without a power of attorney, having one in place significantly eases the process. It allows My Lawyer in Spain to handle essential tasks, making the entire experience more convenient and efficient. By granting a power of attorney, you can avoid multiple trips to Spain and ensure that all post-completion administrative tasks are managed smoothly.

If you are considering purchasing property in Spain, contact us to learn more about how a power of attorney can help you. Our team is here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience.

My Lawyer in Spain

Written by:
My Lawyer in Spain

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