AttorneyIf you are looking for a Power of Attorney:

  • In Italy you need to ask for a ‘Procura’

If you are looking for a General Power of Attorney

  • In Italy you need to ask for a “Procura Generale

If you are looking for a Special Power of Attorney

  • In Italy you need to ask for a “Procura Speciale

A Procura is a document which appoints another person or a company to act on your behalf. Like in any other country, it can be used for many reasons, although in my experience a Procura is very popular among foreign clients to setup an Italian company or buy a house in Italy. These operations requires more than one day in Italy, and the foreign client sign a power of attorney to be free to go back home. Sometimes he doesn’t come to Italy at all.

Requirement of the Attorney

Be sure that the person you appoint to transact any business on your behalf has an Italian tax code (Codice Fiscale) or the power of attorney risks to be useless, and you should be asked to fly back to Italy again.

If you sign a Procura in Italy, remember to sign in front of a notary public (Notaio), or the power of attorney is invalid. In fact Italian solicitors have no power to certify a power of attorney.

With the birth of the European Union, this rule has become somewhat weird. For instance, I am a registered lawyer both in Italy and in England. In Italy only notary public can legalize a power of attorney, in England both notary and lawyer have the power. More than once, I have put my “English hat” to certify a document, only to switch to my “Italian hat” and use the document in my country. That’s Europe and we love it!

What happen if you are not in the European Union?

  1. So, if you are in Italy you can sign the power of attorney in front of an Italian notary public.
  2. If you don’t want to fly to Italy and you are in a European country, you can use your local officer. The EU law force Italy to accept the document. Just remember to add an apostille. Sometimes you don’t need it (i.e. a notary in France doesn’t requires an apostille thanks to the Italian-French treaty) but it’s better to avoid any risk.
  3. What happens if you are outside Europe and you won’t or can’t fly to Italy?

Italy is a member of the Hague Convention on Apostille. It means that a power of attorney signed in your country in front of the local officer WITH apostille is valid in Italy. Just check the wording with your Italian lawyer. Sometimes power of attorney to incorporate a company or to buy a house could be quite complex.

What happens if you are not in the European Union AND your country is not a member of the Hague Convention?

If you are a lawyer, you are probably thinking that only a tiny and unknown country could be outside any of those membership. On the contrary, one of the most important country of our time stay in this area: namely China. Italy has never closed a double treaty to recognize the Chinese documents. Why? Please don’t ask me.

If you are a Chinese entrepreneur or a Chinese company and you want to operate in Italy, you have two options:

  1. The first solution is to go to the Italian consulate. I have used this system many times, and it works. Although it can be difficult, because the nearest Consulate is far away (China is no small state) or because the Consulate is not used to do these documents.
  2. The second solution, is to have your documents certified by a solicitor of another European country. I have used this system more and more often in the last years. As a UK lawyer I can certify Chinese documents, and because UK and Italy are both member of the European Union, Italy has to accept my certification. It’s a bit tricky but it works as well and it’s legal of course.

The choice is yours. Whatever solution you pick, welcome to Italy!

UPDATE: We received over 100 requests in just two months asking about a power of attorney. Here is a template you can download for a limited cost. Just click and pay trough PayPal or secure server.

Template General Power of Attorney Italy

Image source: storebukkebruse on Flickr.com

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