Power of Attorney – Apostille

If one of the purchasing parties does not understand Italian, there are two options for completing the transaction:

1) The entire contract must be translated into the other language and an interpreter must be nominated.


2) The parties who do not understand Italian can give a power of attorney (this is generally in a bilingual Italian/English version; however, other languages may be used instead of English) to an Italian speaker.

The power of attorney document can be signed either in Italy or abroad:

1) If managed in Italy, it must be signed in front of a public notary, with two witnesses (at least one of them must speak the language of the purchasing party) and an interpreter must be present; the witnesses and the interpreter must be either Italian or Foreigners resident in Italy (it is advisable to select these persons in advance since the notaries do not provide them).

2) If managed abroad, the power of attorney must be either signed in front of a Notary Public and then affixed with the “apostille” (this solution is not advisable unless the Notary Public is familiar with this procedure) or signed and completed at the Italian Consulate.
A power of attorney may be useful for two reasons; firstly, only the power of attorney (and not the whole contract) needs to be translated and secondly, the parties do not need to attend before the notary at the deed of sale.

Regarding the content of the power of attorney document, it is helpful to point out a few specific issues in advance:

a) the power of attorney should be granted to two attorneys (instead of only one) to help avoid any last-minute complications which would postpone the transaction (e.g if one attorney is severely ill and cannot attend).

b) if the buyers are married, their regime in which their distribution of property is governed (community or separate property) should be stated; this information will be required for the transcription of the contract in the public register.

c) it is useful to grant powers to the attorneys so that they can proceed with a more precise identification of the property being purchased, clarifying boundaries,
consistency of the property, and cadastral data; this may again save time and avoid any postponement of the deed.

d) it can be useful also to enable the attorneys to withdraw payments in the form of banker’s drafts for paying the balance on the property, taxes, fees owed to professionals (notary, surveyor, etc.), and any other expense inherent in the acquisition of the property.

What is an apostille?

Hague Conference on Private International Law an Apostille (pronounced “ah-posteel”) is a French word meaning certification.

An Apostille is simply the name for a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.

In the United States, all 50 states and the Federal Government (US Department of State – Office of Authentication) can issue an Apostille.

In 1961, many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. Members of the conference, referred to as the Hague Convention, adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member countries.

Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

The Apostille Convention provides the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Documents destined for use in participating countries and their territories should be certified by one of the officials in the jurisdiction in which the document has been executed.

The information on this page is compiled with the greatest care; nevertheless, no rights may be derived from this information and optional attachments. We recommend that you check with the embassy in your country for the specifications and available information regarding your plans.