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Power of attorney in France

Power of Attorney in France

Updated on Tuesday 08th January 2019

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The power of attorney in France, also known as “procuration” is a legal document that must be signed in front of a notary and through which a person called a grantor, principal or donor enables another person, called an agent or an attorney-in-fact to execute various types of actions in his/her name. There are several conditions that must be met by the grantor and the agent when signing the power of attorney, like being of legal age and in full mental capacity.
 
Our law firm in France can provide assistance if you need to draw up a power of attorney in France. If you want to open a company, it may be useful to delegate some of the responsibilities to another entrusted individual using this type of legal document.
 

What does a French power of attorney contain?

In France, the power of attorney can be granted by the principal to the agent for various legal purposes. The document must specify the activities the agent is allowed to carry out in the name of the principal and it is only valid if the agent has received the consent of the principal. The agent must present the power of attorney whenever necessary in order to define the actions he/she can undertake in the name of the principal.
 
A French power of attorney must observe all the demands stated in the French Civil Code. The document must be dated and include the names of the individuals. Powers of attorney without a date of execution are null. The grantor can revoke this document at any time if he/she wishes so and the power of attorney can also be issued only for a limited amount of time.
 
Our French lawyers can advise you regarding the legal provisions for using and issuing a power of attorney. The person entrusted with such a document must always be a trustworthy individual. 
 

The grantor and the agent when issuing a French power of attorney

As mentioned above, the grantor is the person requesting the issuance of the power of attorney on behalf of the agent or attorney-in-fact who is the person in charge of respecting the provisions of the document.

According to the French legislation, a power of attorney can be granted by persons who are at least 18 years old and who have full mental capacity. When it comes to the agent representing the donor, this can be any trusted person by the grantor, including a French lawyer. The responsibilities of the agent are limited to the content of the power of attorney.

The power of attorney needs to be drafted and notarized by a public notary in order to be valid. Another aspect to consider related to the validity of such a document is that it can be established according to the request of the grantor. Also, the grantor can revoke the power of attorney at any time he or she considers it is no longer needed for their interests to be represented by a proxy.

The power of attorney will cease once the person granting it dies.

 

What is the power of attorney used for in France?

 
A power of attorney can be used in France whenever a person must delegate another individual to act on his/her behalf. They can be employed by individuals as well as businessmen or company owners. A power of attorney can be used for:
 
- business transactions;
- receiving official documents;
- operating bank accounts;
- signing contracts or other documents.
 
 

Issuing a power of attorney for opening a company in France

As noted earlier, a power of attorney can be used for various purposes and in France, this document can be used by foreign investors who want to open companies. It is rather usual for foreign entrepreneurs to partially or totally delegate the procedure of registering a business with the French authorities to a lawyer or a specialized agent.

The investors can decide on the matters he or she needs representation for and then issue the power of attorney. For example, our attorneys in France who are specialized in offering business registration solutions have represented many categories of investors before the local authorities through powers of attorney.

Clients can grant us power of attorney for the following operations:

  • -          registration of the company with the Companies Register in France;
  • -          registration of the business with the tax authorities in France;
  • -          the procedure related to opening the corporate bank account;
  • -          applying for specific business licenses with the local municipality.

 

There are several advantages linked to using a power of attorney when opening a company in France and among these, we only mention the reduced time related to the incorporation procedure. Once you grant us the power of attorney, we can immediately start the procedure of opening the business which implies drafting and notarizing the company’s Articles of Association. You will be able to get in touch with us for every step of the procedure, this way being up to date on how the process is coming along.

By using a power of attorney, you will not be required to travel to France during the initial phase of the registration procedure.

 

The power of attorney in real estate transactions in France

Another common use for the power of attorney is when selling or buying real estate property in France. Foreign citizens or companies interested in acquiring a residential or commercial property can issue a power of attorney in order to have a French legal representative to look out for their best interest before signing any pre-sale or sale-purchase agreement.

Our law firm in France can handle the real estate due diligence procedure first and then handle the negotiations and the sale or purchase transaction on the behalf of the client. Our lawyers will keep the client up to date during every step of the procedure. We can also handle the registration of the property with the Land Register in France.

 

How can I issue a power of attorney in France if I am abroad?

Most of the times the powers of attorney are issued by foreign citizens who want to complete various actions in France. They can either send us the foreign document which will be translated into French and then notarized or we can handle the drafting and notarization directly in order to save time. We will also need a copy of the grantor’s identification papers which need to be valid. Also, a proof of the grantor’s residential address is necessary.

 

Types of power of attorney in France

 
The types of power of attorney that can be used in France are:
 
  • - ordinary: granted depending on the purpose of the representation, according to the needs of the donor;
  • - protective: used by individuals who want to appoint one or more representatives who will defend their interests when they will no longer be able to do so;
  • - posthumous: mainly used by business owners; it comes into force on the day the ordinary power of attorney expires;
  • lasting power of attorney which is usually created as a protective measure in case the donor loses their mental capacity.
 
 

Out of all types of French powers of attorney, the ordinary and the lasting power of attorney are the most employed. While the ordinary power of attorney is used for actions which need immediate and short-term actions, the lasting power of attorney is used for guardianship purposes and representation before the French courts in specific cases in which the grantor has lost their mental capacity.

It is advisable to seek the help of a professional when drawing up a power of attorney. Depending on the rights granted to the representative, this document may or may not be used for general purposes, thus it is best to conceive a general power of attorney, rather than a limited one because certain transactions can be canceled if the power of attorney does not meet all of the demands.
 
Please contact our law firm in France for more information about doing business there and other details about the French legislation applicable to foreign investors. We can also help foreign investors who want to open companies in France with tailored legal services.