How to Get a Power of Attorney for Someone Out of the Country

By Roger Thorne J.D. - Updated June 05, 2017
General Power of Attorney documents

A Power of Attorney is a document used by one person to allow another person to make decisions in their place on or their behalf. These documents can be limited to cover only certain tasks, or it can grant broad powers over a person's interest. Obtaining Power of Attorney over for someone who is out of the country adds an additional requirement to the process.

Power of Attorney over Someone Not in the Country

First, you must decide what kind of power of attorney (sometimes referred to as POA) you want to obtain. The four basic kinds are; limited, general, durable and springing. Limited power of attorney is just that, limited. It lasts only for a defined length of time and applies to only certain areas. A general power of attorney is much broader, essentially giving power over a person's entire life. Durable Power of Attorney is something that will last even after a person is dead or otherwise incapacitated. Springing power of Attorney grants the power only when a specific condition is met. Further, power of attorney are typically split into financial and medical. For example, someone could grant one person power of attorney over their financial affairs, while at the same time giving a third person power of attorney over health and medical concerns.

Meet the requirements. For someone (the principal) to grant power of attorney to someone else (the agent) several conditions must be met. First, the principal must be of sound mind. Second, the document must generally be in writing. You can have someone else prepare it, it must usually be written, though there are some states that allow oral power of attorney to be granted under specific circumstances. And third, it must be signed and witnessed.

Appoint a successor agent. Some agents refuse to accept power of attorney, or are not able to do so, especially in the case of a springing power of attorney whose agent has since become incapacitated. Naming a successor agent may be necessary when drafting the document to ensure it is followed.

Take it to the U.S. Embassy, Consulate or Diplomatic Mission. The primary difference between obtaining power of attorney in the United States and doing so oversees is in the notary requirements. Each embassy or consulate offers U.S. Citizen services, including passport help, birth certificates and notary services. Depending on the country in which you are in, you may have to call ahead and make an appointment.

About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.

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