In many cases under Greek law, especially real estate law, the lawyer is authorized to act for the client under the condition that the client has given him/her such power through a Power of Attorney. This is particularly relevant in a property purchase, as the lawyer can sign on the behalf of the client and represent them in the purchase contract as long as the lawyer has a legally valid Power of Attorney. It is equally relevant in order to open a bank account, as the bank will request a Power of Attorney; or in order to appear before a public authority such as the population registration office and the citizenship authority. Of course the appointee/proxy does not necessarily have to be a lawyer; it can be a third person that the appointer trusts and who is able to act on their behalf.
Power of Attorney v Authorisation
The Power of Attorney has to be distinguished from the simple authorisation (“eksousiodotisi”), which is a simple document that includes a written order from the appointer to the appointee regarding some type of representation and the only formality that has to be followed is that the certification of the signature of the appointer be by a public authority (police, Citizens’ Service Center, Greek consular or embassy, notary, and recently online through the digital tax account each citizen holds).
On the contrary the Power of Attorney can be signed only before a notary public or a Greek embassy/consular and its format is more specific. Whether a person will choose a Power of Attorney or an eksousiodotisi depends on the purpose it will serve. The authority or entity that will be addressed might request a Power of Attorney, meaning a simple eksousiodotisi might not be sufficient.
The Power of Attorney remains valid until the appointer revokes it and notifies respectively the appointee, while after the revocation any actions up-until-then by the appointee in principle remain valid.
Power of Attorney Greece – Best practice
The text of the Power of Attorney should be drafted by a Greek lawyer or a notary public and a lot of attention to detail must be taken as giving the power to a third party to act on someone’s behalf might be tricky and entail potential risk. This is particular relevant when the orders of representation include the management of someone’s assets. This is why we advise clients on what orders they should include in the Power of Attorney and which ones they should avoid. On the other hand the context and the orders given to the appointee should not be very narrow either, as in several cases this would impede the carrying-out of the intended act.
In one case a client living in another country had authorized – through a Power of Attorney signed while he was in Greece – a business partner to act on his behalf regarding an issue relating to his company. When the appointee reached me and showed me the existing Power of Attorney I realized that a specific order was not drafted correctly and this way the appointee could not sign the necessary documents before the business registry.
The client had to sign a new Power of Attorney before the Greek embassy which cost him both money and time as the consular normally takes quite some time before they can schedule an appointment of this kind. Therefore, the right balance has to be reached and this is why it is indispensable to consult an experienced lawyer in order to get proper advice on creating an appropriate Power of Attorney.