Updated: Apr 6
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that delegates authority from one person to another. In the document, the delegator of the Power of Attorney also referred to as the “Principal” grants the “Delegate” the right to act on their behalf as an agent. The amount of authority that is granted depends on the specific language of the Power of Attorney. The individual appointing a Power of Attorney can choose to make it very broad or limited to certain specific acts.
Who Should Be Granted Power of Attorney
Because the scope of legal authority granted by a Power of Attorney is clearly stated when it is established, the person appointed as the principal cannot necessarily do as they please. The individual that is granted power of attorney has a legal fiduciary duty to only make decisions that are in the best interests of the person they are representing.
Although a POA delegate is legally bound to act only in a principal’s best interest, it is still very important to appoint someone who is trustworthy in regard to handling any personal or business affairs. In cases such as with the elderly, it’s usually a child or other close family member.
An individual who is appointed as a Power of Attorney is typically able to act on your behalf without your direct oversight because the document allows for that. Because there is no direct oversight, situations such as elder financial abuse and/or fraud can and often do occur. This is why serious consideration should be exercised when choosing a POA delegate.
International (Overseas) Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is governed by the law of the country where the actions of the delegate are to be performed. This is typically the region in which the assets of the principal are located.
Individuals living in one country that have personal or business interests such as property or bank accounts in another country may need to arrange an International (Overseas) Power of Attorney for their representatives abroad. This is especially the case for people who are unable to travel in order to manage their affairs.
An International or Overseas Power of Attorney is also very useful when studying abroad. it makes it much easier to handle academic matters such as financial aid disbursement or dealing with a student's financial institution while they’re out of the country.
International Power of Attorney Apostille Process
When acting as a designated Power of Attorney in a foreign country that is a member of the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention, an International Power of Attorney Apostille must be attached to the official document. In most situations, the document will be created in the other country by an attorney or specialist sent to you by email or postal mail. Most Secretary of State offices will accept papers written in a foreign language if they have been properly notarized.
After drafting the Power of Attorney paperwork that is to be Apostilled, you must schedule a meeting with a local licensed notary. Because the documents are verified by the Secretary of State, the notary must follow the proper notarial requirements that are applicable to their state. The proper notarial wording must be printed on the document or appended to the signed page in English.
A translation service may be required to complete the processing of the Power of Attorney. Improper processing of your International Power of Attorney Apostille can result in costly and lengthy delays. The staff at American Apostille & Notary Services are quite experienced in document authentication and are readily available 24/7 to assist with the proper preparation of your International Power of Attorney Apostille.