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Drafting and Authenticating a Power of Attorney for Use in Brazil

Power Of Attorney for Use In Brazil

Power of Attorneys are used by foreign citizens to have their interests represented in Brazil by lawyers, family members or close friends. POAs provided by foreign citizens outside of Brazil require a large number of authentication steps to be accepted by the Brazilian authorities. Although such steps will vary depending on the nationality and place of residence of the granting party, they are somewhat similar for most steps.

Our goal here is to provide your lawyer with an overview of the 12 main steps required for the production and authentication of a POA to be used by a foreign party in Brazil. Lay individuals should not attempt to secure such steps by themselves in any circumstances. This overview is provided with the purpose of only giving you an idea about how complex this process is. Again, you should not attempt to handle this procedure by yourself. A licensed Brazilian lawyer should be in charge of the entire process to reduce the risks of delays, mistakes and rework.

Sample step-by-step for your lawyer to follow

While the main steps involved in drafting and authenticating a POA abroad to be used by a foreign citizen are similar despite the nationality and residence of the granting party, there are some key differences when it comes to the Notary/County Clerk/Apostille steps. In this page, we will describe the main steps involved in the drafting and authentication of a POA in the United States for a US citizen to have his interests represented in Brazil.

Professional POA Drafting and Authentication

In no circumstances we recommend a lay person to handle the steps required to draft and authenticated a POA abroad for use in Brazil. Such steps are complex, require legal knowledge, and any mistakes may cause you months of delays with serious risk of losses of rights and assets.

Need one of our lawyers to assist you with drafting and authenticating your POA? Contact us today for a quote at info@oliveiralawyers.com. Services start at USD 999.00 for the most basic POAs.

POA Drafting & Authentication Main Steps

1. Get a template from the Registration Office

Registration offices in Brazil are known as "Cartórios" or "Tabelionatos". Registration offices may be willing to provide you with a template specifying the parties and the powers that should be included in the POA depending on the type of case or need you have in Brazil. Such templates will always be provided in Portuguese and some registration offices may require you to go in person to their offices to obtain a print out of the template.

2. Complete and customize the template

A template should be used just as a start point. Customization may involve adding details for the parties, powers to be granted to the person who will represent you in Brazil and other details such as date, city, etc. Only a licensed lawyer in Brazil should be trusted with this task.

3. Have the customized POA reviewed by the Registration Office

A single word missing could compromise the entire POA. That's why we recommend that after your lawyer finishes customizing the template, he/she sends the edited document back to the Registration Office for a review. Some of registration offices are willing to do this checking by email while others will want you to go to their location in person.

4. Have the customized document translated from Portuguese to English

Once you get the green light from the registration office, have the POA document translated from Portuguese to English (again - this entire example assumes you are a US citizen living in the US. Remember that the process of authentication will depend on the practices of the country where you are currently located). In the US, a document should be in English to go through the authentication requirements applicable in the US (in France, on the other hand, you would be required to have the document translated from Portuguese to French instead).

We recommend that you hire a sworn translator to provide you with a simple translation (not sworn) of the POA in English. The reason why we recommend you to use a sworn translator even though this should be a non-sworn translation is to keep consistency when the sworn translator translates back during "step 8".

The Sao Paulo Trade Board has published a list with registered sworn translators from the state of Sao Paulo. Note that although accredited at state level, sworn translators' translations are accepted in any Brazilian state.

5. Take the English version of the document to a Notary Public for signature and notarization

Take the English version of your POA to a notary public. You should wait to sign the POA in the presence of the notary public. It is important that the notary public is current with their membership with the state since his credentials and signature will be validated in the steps 6 and/or step 7. The exact verbiage that the notary public will have to add to the POA should be advised by the attorney supervising this process. In addition to proper verbiage, the notary public should stamp, sign and date the document.

Costs for a notary public go from a few dollars if done in premises to over USD 100.00 if you lawyer decides to hire a mobile notary (meaning someone who will go to your lawyer's office).

6. Take the POA to a County Clerk for authentication

In some state like New York, you will have to take the notarized POA to the county clerk in charge of the circumscription when you had the document notarized. So, if you live in Mineola, NY, for instance, you will have to take your notarized document to Nassau County clerk while if you live in Manhattan, you will have to take the notarized document to the county clerk in downtown Manhattan.

Some states like Texas do not require the County Clerk authentication. Texas is at the forefront of technology being able to validate the notary public signature and credentials without the need for participation of the County Clerk.

Cost for a county clerk authentication could range from USD 20 to USD 50. As this process is usually time consuming, lawyers will usually pay for some service provider to attend the county clerk on their behalf. Final cost will usually exceed USD 100.00

7. Take the POA to the Department of State in your state of residence for Apostille

After your POA was authenticated by the County Clerk (where required), your lawyer will have to take the POA to the Department of State to get an Apostille. An Apostille is a formal process by which a state part of the US will assert the legitimacy of the document attached to such Apostille. The Apostille was created by the Hague Convention with the purpose of standardizing a process by which parties of different countries could authenticated their documents for use in other countries also participant of the Hague Apostille Convention. Countries currently participating in such agreement are marked in bold in this official Apostille list of countries.

Because of the potential long waits at the Department of State in addition to the need to come back on a different day to pickup the final document, cost for the first Apostille is usually charged by service providers between USD 250.00 and USD 350.00 while additional Apostilled documents are charged at a discounted rate.

8. Ship the POA to a sworn translator in Brazil for a sworn translation from English into Portuguese

After your POA has been apostilled by the State of Department, your lawyer will have to ship the apostilled POA to a sworn translator in Brazil. At this state your lawyer will already have spent lots of hours on your document in addition to the many fees charged by notaries, county clerks and department of state. It will advisable to have your document shipped from the US to the sworn translator in Brazil by Federal Express. A document shipped from the US to Brazil by FedEx can cost your lawyer anywhere from USD 70.00 to USD 120.00 depending on origin in the US and destination in Brazil as well as the service level (basic, expedite, etc.) and if your lawyer has an account with FedEx or not.

9. Get a sworn translation of your POA in Brazil

Sworn translators are residents in Brazil by law. They become legally authorized to provide sworn translations after passing demanding examinations and being registered with Trade Boards at the state levels ("Juntas Comerciais"). Because sworn translators have a strong lobby along the legislative bodies, some states have such examinations delayed for many years (some states delaying examinations for decades). Your lawyer may have a hard time securing a sworn translator. The good news is that they are bound by law to charge official rates and a sworn translation for your POA will usually not exceed a few hundred dollars (rarelly exceeding USD 500.00 in total).

If your lawyer followed our tip described in Step 5, the same translator who first translated the POA from Portuguese to English will now translate the final document back from English to Portuguese. This is extremely important so the final translated document will have a higher chance of using the same terms that were found in the template provided by the Registration Office in step 1. Some registration offices are picky and a single different term could mean refusal of acceptance for a document that took you months and several hundred dollars to produce.

10. Take both the POA and the sworn translation to a Registration Office in Brazil for recording

Your lawyer should get from the sworn translation both the POA in English prepared in the US and the official sworn translation prepared by the sworn translator. Both documents should be taken to a "Cartório de Títulos e Notas" in Brazil. Note that although there may be more than one of these registration offices in large cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, your lawyer should take these documents to the "Distributor" (distribuidor) . The "Distributor" is in charge of randomly send your documents for registration in one of the registration offices in the city. Estimate cost for the registration of a single POA is between USD 50 to USD 80 not including the service of whomever will be visiting this registration office multiple times.

11. Order an authenticated copy of the POA for your records

After the POA along its sworn translation has been registered, make sure you order one or more authenticated copies. Some registration offices may want to retain the original POAs. Authenticated copies will allow you to retain a legally valid copy and potentially use the same POA with more than one party (although some parties may require an original version issued by the registration office described in step 10.

Fees could be under USD 50.00 not including fees for service provider in charge of visiting the registration office for this purpose.

12. Take both the recorded POA and sworn translation to the authority that will use your POA

Finally, take both the recorded POA and the sworn translation to the authority that will be using your POA. Remember that our overview highlights only the main steps involved in the drafting and authentication of a POA granted abroad by a foreign citizen for use in Brazil. And, as advised at the beginning of this overview, make sure a licensed Brazilian lawyer is in charge and advises you throughout these steps.