How can I signal a French energy of lawyer from the UK?

Reader’s question: I can’t meet a notary during the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown. How can I sign a French power of attorney?

Certain French legal documents usually have to be signed in person in front of a notary in France.

These include those relating to an inheritance, such as the act of fame (deed of entitlement to inheritance), most declarations of succession, and all certificates of immovable property (transfer of ownership in the event of death).

If you are buying or selling French property, you will need to sign the final deed with a notary when it is complete.

As this is not always practical or possible, individuals can use a power of attorney to appoint the notary or his employee (or any other trustworthy person) to sign on their behalf in France.

The French responded to the problems of signing procurations (powers of attorney) at the start of the Covid pandemic by introducing a temporary decree that allowed these commissions to be signed remotely via video conference. You have now expanded this to make electronic and video signature a permanent option.

This makes it easy for clients to sign powers of attorney and French legal documents without having to go to a notary public or a UK notary or solicitor in person. This is useful when accepting an inheritance or buying or selling a property.

You can now sign via videoconferencing, provided the correct signing and certification protocols are followed. A suitable notary or specialist lawyer can also obtain apostille legalization certificates if required.

Read more: New system enables notaries to make greater use of video conferencing

Notaries use a system called DocuSign for customers in France, but this has often proven unsuitable for many UK residents for practical reasons.

The simplest solution for a UK specialist is to get procurement documents from a notary and email them to the client, who prints and signs them while the specialist witnesses Zoom. They are scanned and emailed and sent by post.

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