Powers of Attorney in Chile

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A power of attorney can be executed for just about anything in Chile. Powers of attorney should be limited in scope to particular tasks or goals and must be drafted by a qualified attorney. After getting all the proper authorizations outside the country, a poorly drafted power of attorney can ultimately be rejected or accepted by each notary, government office, or private party in Chile if not drafted correctly. The amount of effort and expense you need to validate a power of attorney inside of Chile from outside Chile makes it essential that the Power of Attorney be well drafted from the start.

First, Be careful with Powers of Attorney!!!

Remember, any power of attorney you sign is delegating your legal rights to someone else, and you are responsible for whatever that person may do with that power in your name.

Keep it simple, only give powers of attorney to people you trust, and limit the powers required to complete very specific tasks. We have seen many foreigners get themselves in financial and legal trouble because they easily gave away far too broad of powers in a power of attorney document. Many simply did this because they thought it might be convenient, save time, or the person they had just met was very “nice”.

So, you have a power of attorney drafted by a qualified attorney in Chile. Your first step is to decide the easiest of two methods to get a notarized document outside of Chile. The first is to simply find your nearest Chilean Consulate and go there to sign it. Usually, the document must be sent in advance to the consulate, and an appointment must be made to visit. Your Chilean attorney should assist you with scheduling to sign at a consulate.

The second option is to have the document notarized by a local notary from your home country, then have that signature legalized by your State department legalization office ( or your countries equivalent ), followed by having the document mailed to the Chilean consulate responsible for your area to validate it in your home country.

The procedures will often differ from country to country, from document to document, and ultimately may depend on the purpose of the document. We caution that legalization for Chile is not the same as an apostille certificate. The Apostille is a mechanism under the Hague convention for member countries to recognize documents from other member countries. Chile only became a party to the Hague Convention on document legalization in 2017. Other countries may need to complete the traditional process of legalizing documents.

The first method of directly signing a Power of Attorney at the Chilean consulate is the preferred method because it leads to the least potential mistakes. We have had numerous problems with the foreign legalization of local notary signatures. Stamps get missed, offices and signatures get missed, and common foreign practices can often confuse the parties accepting a power of attorney in Chile at the end of the process. You are notarising a Chilean document by signing at the Chilean consulate.

Going to the local consulate is often not a problem if, for example, you live in a major international city such as Los Angeles, New York, or London. If, however, the time and expense involved in reaching your nearest Chilean consulate are too high or simply impossible, legalizing a local notary signature may be your only option. It simply needs to be done carefully and properly supervised by your Chilean attorney to ensure that no critical steps are missed.

Legalizing for Chile and foreign Notary Signatures

Every country has a slightly different system for legalizing documents for countries not party to the Hague Convention. For example, in the United States, there is a legalization service that handles pushing the document through the various levels of State and Federal offices to authenticate that the notary is, in fact, authorized to notarize documents in the United States. In whatever country you have it done, each official’s signature above the notary must certify the chain of authority for that notary to your foreign ministry or state department level. So, you can see many ways for things to go wrong or be missed.

Once you receive all the legalization or authentication of the signature of your local notary public inside your country, you must then send the document to the Chilean Embassy to have them finally certify that all the authorizations are legal and valid for that country. In our experience, however, we have discovered that this can be done with different levels of care from consulate to consulate.

Regardless of what method you use to notarize the document outside of Chile, once the document arrives in Chile, it must go to the Chilean Foreign Affairs Office in Santiago to have the Chilean Consul’s signature in the foreign country authenticated, for the document to be a valid legal instrument in Chile.

This might all seem very complicated, and we highly urge you to seek professional assistance. Still, this system is also designed to protect you and the public in Chile from shady or illegal deals. It makes it extremely difficult for someone to use a forged power of attorney in Chile. The legalization process and public notary system in Chile also have the added benefits of helping to cut down on legal costs and time, should you ever need to go to court. The authenticity of properly legalized and notarized documents rarely needs to be questioned in Chile. The purpose of legalization, in part, is to relieve each government office or private party from needing to individually authenticate every foreign document. All third parties recognise the document as a fully legal document in Chile.

So the easiest method, if possible, is to sign a power of attorney or your contract directly inside Chile at a notary public while you are in Chile. Ideally, you should plan ahead if you are visiting Chile and know you will not be able to be present for some official function after you leave. Second, if you can not sign in person inside Chile, try to make plans to visit your nearest Chilean consulate to sign a power of attorney for Chile or other Chilean documents requiring notarization in Chile.

Only as a last resort should you depend on the long and sometimes costly process of legalizing your local notary’s signature in your home country. This also must be done with other documents generated in a foreign country, such as birth certificates and marriage certificates. It is not impossible. It simply must be done with care.

Source: Spencer Global

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