A power of attorney completed in South Australia may not be recognised outside the State. Whilst there are provisions to recognise enduring powers of attorney in all states and territories, the situation is different with general powers of attorney.
Special care must be taken when making a power of attorney to be used for interstate or overseas assets. For interstate assets, it is suggested a person make a power of attorney according to the other State's legislation, in other words using a form from that state. All states in Australia have power of attorney forms available similar to those in use in South Australia.
To cover overseas assets, the power of attorney must be broad enough to comply with the laws of the relevant country and the signature of the donee should be witnessed by a notary public, who is a lawyer with the power to sign documents which have international recognition. A notary public will charge for witnessing documents. A list of notaries public is available from the Law Society of South Australia.
The notary public signs and places an impressed seal on the document. The power of attorney must then be sent to the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs, which seals the document and certifies that the signature of the notary public is that person's true signature.
The power of attorney must then be taken to the consulate or trade commission of the country where it is to be used. The consulate or trade commission then certifies the signature of the Foreign Affairs officer who signed the certificate.
Once these steps have been taken, the document can be used in a country where the signature of the Department of Foreign Affairs officer has been certified, as long as the wording of the document complies with the law of the relevant country.
It is worthwhile to ask the advice of the relevant consulate or trade commission as to the form and wording of an overseas power of attorney before starting this process.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.