If you are dealing with assets in France such as a property transfer, you may opt to give your French lawyer power of attorney to sign documents for you in your absence. A power of attorney is a very important legal document that allows a nominated person to sign documents on your behalf.
The power of attorney (also called the Procuration) will usually be in French without an English translation attached. If this is the case, the notary in the UK will need to be satisfied that you fully understand the document and will ask you to confirm your understanding before you sign the document. The easiest way to ensure that you understand the document if you are not completely fluent in French is to have your French lawyer or the Notaire in France (or more usually his assistant) translate the document for you over the phone. You do not need a formal translation unless you require one for your own peace of mind. If you have had the document translated by a French lawyer, and you are confident that you understand the document fully, this is sufficient to enable the UK notary to notarise it.
The UK notary will attach an English notarial certificate to the French power of attorney confirming that they identified you, checked your comprehension and witnessed your signature.
The notarised document will usually (but not always) require an apostille before it will be accepted as legally binding in France. The Apostille is part of the legalisation process and is a little piece of paper that is attached to the back of the document by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which confirms that the notary’s signature and seal on the document is authentic. You will need to check with your French lawyer whether the apostille is required and if so, we can deal with this application for you on completion of the notarisation.
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