If you’re interested in buying a property or engaging in a business activity in Uruguay but your time in the country is limited, you may be able to accomplish your objectives with a Power of Attorney.
In Uruguay, a Power of Attorney is prepared by an escribano, often called a notary. The notary is a professional who performs specific legal functions.
The services of a notary are required to buy or sell real estate, get a mortgage, transfer the title of a car, create a company, make a will, or create a Power of Attorney.
A notary will prepare your Power of Attorney based on your anticipated needs and instructions. The notary helps assure, with due diligence, that the completed and signed document is valid according to local law, and no future problems will appear.
There are two main categories of Power of Attorney, General and Specific.
A General Power of Attorney is granted for all kinds of contracts. However, even with a General Power of Attorney, the Attorney may need express authorization from the Grantor to carry out certain acts, such as selling real estate and creating mortgages.
A Special Power of Attorney is one that is granted to perform a specific action or specific activities.
For a Power of Attorney, the “Attorney” refers to the person who will act on behalf of the Grantor. While most foreign grantors select a reputable lawyer to represent them, you can designate any legal adult (over 18) to be your attorney.
You can limit the authority you grant with a Power of Attorney in several ways.
- Establishing a date on which the Power of Attorney expires.
- Limiting the authorisation to transactions of a particular dollar amount.
- Limiting the authorisation by appointing multiple persons and specifying that for certain matters, at least, two of them must sign together.
- Establishing groups of activities and specifying who or how certain persons can act in the case of each one.
- Banning the attorney from appointing substitutes.
To prevent a conflict of interest, the attorney cannot carry out certain actions without specific authorization. For example, an Attorney cannot buy what he or she has been authorised to sell. And an Attorney cannot sell his own property to the grantor.
Obligations and responsibilities of the Attorney
- The Attorney is responsible to the grantor for any loss or damage caused by his or her negligent actions.
- The Attorney must account to the Grantor for his or her actions and hand over any documents received in that capacity.
- The Attorney must act within the limits of the Power of Attorney given to him or her. Any acts or contracts made by the attorney which exceed their authority do not obligate the Grantor of the Power of Attorney.
How to terminate a Power of Attorney:
- With Revocation:
To be effective, a revocation must be carried out with the same formalities as creating the Power of Attorney AND in addition, the revocation must be registered with the Register of Powers of Attorney.
Revoking a Power of Attorney many cost the same as having it created, plus an additional 90 US dollars for the registration.
In addition to the formal revocation at the corresponding Register, I recommend communicating and documenting the revocation before public and private offices, banks, and with individuals where the Power of Attorney has been used.
- When the Power of Attorney was given for a specific time period and that period has elapsed.
- At any time by the attorney resigning his position.
- If the Power or Attorney was for a specific contract and this was signed.
- In the case of death or incapacity of the grantor or of the attorney. Without prejudice to the fact that certain types of Powers of Attorney can continue even after the death of the grantor.
For more information about a power of attorney contact:
STORACE | BALERO | VÁZQUEZ, ESCRIBANOS
Cartagena 1674; Montevideo, Uruguay
Telefax (+598) 2600-4436
Editor's Note: Twice, I’ve negotiated and completed real estate transactions in Uruguay when I’ve been away, thanks to having a trusted representative and a power of attorney in place.
I’ve met others who own farms in Uruguay but live in another country. With a power of attorney, the farm owner’s lawyer or other trusted person can take business-related actions on his or her behalf.
Having a power of attorney prepared in Uruguay costs more than in some other countries. The scheduled rate is 450 US dollars, which includes fees, expenses, and a VAT (value added tax). However, if you have a real estate transaction or a business interest in Uruguay, and need to be away at times, it can be well worth it.