You live and work abroad and you have to solve property and legal issues related to real estate, taxes, inheritance and/or personal status such as citizenship, entry of details on marriage, birth, surname changes in registry books, etc.
THE FORM OF A POWER OF ATTORNEY, LEGALIZATION OF FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS
In this text, we shall try to give a simple explanation to some of your dilemmas and provide an answer to frequently asked questions you and we encounter in practice.
Is it always mandatory for the client to be personally present or can some property and legal issues and legal procedures be completed without visiting the country?
Whether you live in Serbia or abroad, a large number of legal tasks and actions can be undertaken on your behalf by a person whom you authorize to do so by a power of attorney. For the proxy to be able to undertake certain actions on your behalf, a valid document is required – a power of attorney whereby you authorize them to take certain legal actions on your behalf and for your account.
If you live and work abroad, your first question will be whom you should turn to, where you can certify the power of attorney, i.e. whether your signature on the power of attorney is certified only in the premises of the diplomatic and consular representation of the Republic of Serbia, or it is also possible to complete the certification at a foreign certification body (Notary Public)
The competent certification authority, within the limits of its public powers, confirms by an official seal that a certain person has personally came forth and signed the given power of attorney and that the party’s identity was established by inspecting an official document (identity card, passport or driver’s license).
For the power of attorney to take legal effect, it must meet the legal requirements prescribed by the Law on Contracts and Torts and the Law on Legalization of Documents in International Transactions, both in terms of content and form.
Before we answer the question as to whom you can turn to, i.e. where you can certify your signature on a power of attorney, I particularly underline it is important to distinguish whether the signatory is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner.
A citizen of the Republic of Serbia has two options at their disposal:
Option 1, a citizen of the Republic of Serbia has the option to personally appear before the nearest diplomatic consular representation of the Republic of Serbia and sign the power of attorney. The power of attorney on which the party’s signature is certified in a diplomatic-consular representation of the Republic of Serbia is considered to be a domestic public document and in that sense the document is not subject to the legalization procedure.
Option 2, a citizen of the Republic of Serbia and a foreign citizen have the option to certify the power of attorney before the competent foreign body of the country they are currently residing in (Notary Public). Sometimes this option is more convenient for the parties due to the distance of RS consular offices, which are mostly located in large city centers. A document certified by a foreign authority is a foreign public document and must be legalized in order to have validity and be applicable in the Republic of Serbia.
Legalization certifies the authenticity of the signature and stamp of a foreign authority placed on the document, and as a rule, the original document is legalized.
In which cases is legalization not mandatory?
Legalization of a foreign public document is not mandatory in the case that there is a concluded and ratified bilateral international agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the country that issued the foreign public document, on the basis of which the signatory states release each other from the obligation to legalize public documents.
If this is not the case, it is necessary to establish whether the foreign country that issued the foreign public document is a signatory of the Hague Convention on the abolition of the need for legalization of foreign public documents (Apostille), in which case the foreign public document needs to be provided with a Hague Apostille in order to be effective in the Republic of Serbia.
In case that after the above checks you establish that it is a country with which Serbia has not signed a bilateral international agreement, nor a signatory to the Hague Convention, the document must undergo a full legalization procedure.
Full legalization is a more complex procedure and in the Republic of Serbia, it involves certification by the chairman of the competent court, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the diplomatic-consular representation of the country where the document is to be used. Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions and dilemmas, or if you need help drawing up a power of attorney, if you don't know whom to turn to, and you are interested in
successfully and efficiently completing certain tasks related to real estate transactions with our professional help (buying and selling an apartment, office space, garage, real estate exchange, entry into the capital of companies, pledge, lease, gift, settlement of personal status, registration of facts of marriage, birth, citizenship in the registers).
We will send you the terms of cooperation and schedule a meeting as soon as possible!
For more information on the persons who can be a proxy, mandatory content of a power of
attorney, the cases in which the power of attorney is granted, see the link below
Author: Sanja Saric,
Law expert and business consultant