Notarization of Power of Attorney Outside of the United States

January 10, 2018 | By Charles Botensten

Q: I am a real estate agent representing a purchaser. We are trying to schedule a closing with the seller, who is out of the country.  The seller’s attorney informed us that the closing cannot be scheduled for a couple of weeks because the seller needs to have a power of attorney notarized.  Why does it take so long for the seller to have the power of attorney notarized out of the country?

By using a power of attorney (POA), the seller can designate a person to attend the closing and sign documents on the seller’s behalf. In the United States, the seller must execute the POA in the presence of a notary.  When overseas, a POA must be signed in the presence of a notarizing official at a local United States embassy or consulate. The seller must schedule an appointment with the local United States embassy or consulate to utilize the notary service. It has been our experience that obtaining such an appointment can take weeks.

Important Tip: If you are aware that one of the parties to a transaction will be travelling overseas at any point in the transaction, it would make sense to suggest that the party speak to his or her attorney regarding executing a POA prior to the party’s departure.  If the party is already overseas and he or she is going to need to sign a POA (or other documents that require notarization), then the party should immediately schedule a “notarization appointment” with the United States embassy or consulate. 

The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel

Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP