Agreement to legal terms is most often indicated by application of the parties’ own signatures to a contract. However, in cases where one party is unable to be physically present at the signing of the contract (for instance where he is abroad) the law provides that he is able to authorize another person to sign on his behalf in both business and personal matters. The document that is used to give this authority is called a Power of Attorney and, for obvious reasons, the law is specific about the formalities of such documents and how they may be created.
A Power of Attorney can be used when the grantor is unable for some reason to sign a document himself. It may be that he is not physically there to sign the agreement or it may be that (having given authority to the Attorney) he has subsequently become mentally incapacitated. Many lawyers in Cyprus will advise a foreigner who is undertaking a property transaction in Cyprus to give them Power of Attorney to allow them to sign the property contracts on their behalf once they have been negotiated and their terms agreed. This will avoid the time consuming process of posting contracts to clients who are abroad at the time of signing.
Any person who is mentally capable of making a contract may appoint a person of sound mind over the age of 18 to be his Attorney. It is very important to choose an honest and responsible person to act as Attorney as the degree of trust placed upon that person can be vast.
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
It is most often preferable where possible to sign a specific Power of Attorney, rather than a general one, as this will control the degree of power being handed to the Attorney.
Formalities for Powers of Attorney are more stringent than for types of agreement. A Power of Attorney should be signed in the presence of a Certifying Officer.
A person who wishes to execute a Power of Attorney, which will have effect in Cyprus, from abroad, must attend the Cyprus Consulate in person. Alternatively an Honorary Commissioner may certify in the UK or the document may be notarized by a notary public and forwarded to the Cyprus Consulate for authentication.
Giving another person Power of Attorney necessarily implies a great deal of faith on the part of the grantor in the Attorney’s integrity and trustworthiness. The law seeks to protect potential grantors by ensuring that a Certifying Officer must certify the Power of Attorney in order to be effective.