Power of attorney in Spain: The definitive guide

Spanish power of attorney

Before you start reading the power of attorney in Spain guide, here are three useful links for when you read the power of attorney article:

EU residency

Non-EU residency

Moving to Spain: The 2021 guide


Can you imagine your beautiful Spanish property?

The garden to the right.

A swimming pool to the left.

A white wall surrounding your property.

Your significant one is upstairs, at the solarium, waving the hand at you.

This must be real happiness.

You’ve made it.

After so many years, the Spanish dream has come true.

A grin drawn in your face, in the sun.



Before you reach that state of mind of fulfilment, you must know this.

Buying a property in Spain can be full of problems if you do not go through all the legal channels and get everything done correctly.

Also, due to the practicalities of your current situation it may be impossible for you to be in Spain when the time comes to sign the all-important contracts.

It may also be impractical for you to sign the equally important necessary documentation in person at the required time.

Occasions such as these are when having Power of Attorney in Spain comes to your aid.

I’m going to share with you what I know about this procedure, but before just a little warning which will make much more sense when you finish the article:

You should only give power of attorney to somebody you really trust or to a reputable lawyer.

You will give legal powers to that person through the power of attorney. Be careful.

Power of attorney in Spain

(Don’t give the key of your mental peace to anybody you don’t trust)


Power of attorney in Spain: Introduction

In Spanish, a Power of Attorney is known as ‘Escritura de Poder,’ or simply ‘Poder’ for short.

A Power of Attorney enables you to appoint a legal expert or trusted family member or friend to act on your behalf.

A Power of Attorney is simply a legal document that is used across several European countries.

It is used when people are not able to attend to their legal obligations at places or events and that person wants to be represented by another person on their behalf.

That appointed person then has the power to act on their client’s behalf when:

  • Making decisions
  • Signing contracts or other documents
  • Submitting documentation to the relevant office

In Spain, one of the main benefits of appointing a Power of Attorney in Spain is not getting involved in complex legal procedures such as purchasing property (your lawyer will do it on your behalf).

For most people intending on coming to Spain these procedures are unknown to them. Without a knowledgeable Power of Attorney, it is easy to make mistakes when attempting to make such a major purchase, especially when Spanish is not your first language.


So, who exactly can you appoint as my Power of Attorney?

Most people will choose to appoint their property lawyer in Spain as their Power of Attorney.

It is normal procedure to appoint the person who is assisting you with purchasing your property.

As mentioned earlier, friends or family members can be appointed too.


The power of attorney contents

A Power of Attorney covers several aspects of your legal requirements and should include the following points.

  • Personal details: Yours and the details of the person, or persons that you wish to appoint to work on your behalf.
  • The power that you have granted to the person. The powers can be connected to either a specific property or procedure, or they can be worded to relate to be more general in their usage.
  • The details for the Spanish notary who witnessed you signing the document.

The appointed person, whether is a friend or a lawyer, will not be able to do anything on your behalf that is not included within the Power of Attorney.


Powers granted with a power of attorney

When buying or even selling a property in Spain, the powers granted to a Power of Attorney are usually:

  • Opening and operating bank accounts as and when required.
  • NIE number certificate application at the Spanish National Police
  • Contracting insurance policies
  • Water and electricity services
  • Tax
  • Signing documents required before the final signing day
  • The final signature required at the Spanish notary
  • Making any payments when they are due.
  • Going through any procedures required by the Spanish authorities

The Power of Attorney can have more clauses. Please make sure you are not granting anything that is not logical or that can come back as a painful surprise.

Spain map

(Your power of attorney can be used all over Spain)


Is the Spanish NIE number the same as Spanish residency?

No, they are different documents of different natures.

The NIE number certificate is the identity number for foreigners (Numero de Identidad de Extranjero). It’s an A4 white documents, issued to purchase/sell things legally in Spain.

The Spanish residency card is a small green card issued is you spend more than 90 days in Spain.

An NIE number certificate is required before you can open a bank account in Spain, when buying and selling property, or for any assets in Spain you may inherit.

Having power of attorney in Spain will not be enough for somebody to apply for Spanish residency on your behalf. In other words, it will require that you attend to the appointment in person.


How and where should the Power of Attorney be drafted?

It is very important that you use a reliable independent lawyer to draft this document for you.

The appointed lawyer must ensure the correct terminology is used throughout the document.

You can use either a Spanish notary public if you are in Spain or use a notary public within your own country.

I also advise you to ask your lawyer or notary to draft bilingual versions of the document, in both English and Spanish which you can then sign in the presence of the lawyer or notary.

Signing the document ensures you fully understand the contents of the document.

If the document is drafted in Spain, you will require that an interpreter that is present during the drafting of the document.

Spanish lawyer

(Hire a reliable Spanish lawyer)


What are the benefits of appointing a Power of Attorney in Spain?

One of the biggest benefits in my opinion: your property purchase process can be done without you being present.

Unlike what many people think, buying property in Spain has other processes involved which will require your signature (tax, water, electricity, council procedures, etc).

The person who has power of attorney will be able to do the previous steps on your behalf.


How long does the Power of Attorney exist for, when will it expire?

Unless you specify when you would like it to expire, the power of attorney does not have an expiry date.

If that is the case, to go ahead and set up an expiry date, you should speak with a lawyer or a Spanish notary.

The death or loss of the mental capacity of the granter would revoke the power of attorney.


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