Croatia – Authorising someone to act on your behalf (punomoć)
If you live in Australia, but you have property, business, or personal dealings in Croatia, you might need to appoint someone to act on your behalf to look after those things for you while you’re not there. With the current pandemic and restrictions on travel across the world, this situation is becoming more and more common so you’re not alone. In these kinds of cases, the document you probably need to use is the punomoć, also known as an authority or a power of attorney.
When signed in Australia, the punomoć or the power of attorney for Croatia usually must be notarised and then stamped with an apostille by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This means that if you’re signing the punomoć, you must sign it in front of a notary public who will:
- Witness your signature
- Confirm your identity (usually against your passport), and then
- Notarise the punomoć.
Once your punomoć has been notarised, it can be sent to DFAT to be stamped with an apostille in accordance with the Apostille Convention. All legal documents signed in Australia and sent to Croatia must follow these same steps before those legal documents will be accepted in Croatia. If you’re still not sure what’s required for you to authorise someone to look after things in Croatia on your behalf, you should seek legal advice from your lawyer in Croatia.
Who can make the punomoć for me?
Since the punomoć is intended to be used in Croatia, it should be made by your lawyer in Croatia. It would make sense to ask the lawyer who is or will be looking after your property, business, or personal dealings in Croatia. We expect that if you ask your lawyer in Croatia, then it should be written in accordance with what will be accepted in Croatia (ie, the proper form and format, and compliant with the laws). Sometimes people ask whether they can ask a lawyer in Australia but it really depends on whether that lawyer is familiar with what’s required in Croatia. You really shouldn’t attempt to use an Australian document in Croatia. In the same way, it would be challenging for someone to try to use a document in Australia when it was prepared in another country, according to that country’s laws and in language other than English. It’s possible but unnecessarily more complicated.
Does the punomoć need to be in English or translated into English?
No, since the punomoć is a legal document used in Croatia, then it’s likely that it would need to be written in Croatian (ie, in the legal language of the country where it’s being used). Even if your document is in Croatian, it doesn’t need to be translated into English in order for it to be notarised in Australia or stamped with an apostille in Australia. The purpose of notarisation is to witness your signature and confirm your identity (ie, you are the person who signed the punomoć) and the purpose of the apostille is to confirm that your punomoć was properly notarised in Australia. You might need an English translation for yourself if you do not read Croatian because you really should understand what you’re signing – it’s an important legal document.
How do I get my punomoć notarised?
Notarising your punomoć is easy. It’s as simple as calling us for an appointment. Coming to your appointment with your punomoć and your photograph ID (ie, passport) and signing your punomoć in front of our notary public. Our notary public will confirm that you appeared before them, you signed your document in their presence, they witnessed you sign your document, and that you used your passport (or whatever photograph ID you produced) as proof of your identity. The process is simple, quick, and easy.
How do I get an apostille?
In Australia, DFAT is the issuing authority for the apostille, which means only DFAT can issue the apostille (some people seem to think, from what they read on the internet, that the apostille can be issued by notaries – this is not correct). You can make arrangements directly with them otherwise our office can also assist with this process. In many cases, we’ll assist our clients to obtain the apostille so that they can avoid the time and hassle of doing it themselves. Just be aware whether you intend to do it yourself or ask us to do it for you, the apostille does take time to process. It cannot be issued immediately.
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
If you have never had to have a document notarised before, you may find our role as a notary public, the notary public services that we provide, and this whole process (especially authentication, legalisation and apostille) to be confusing and daunting. Do not worry! We are here to try to simplify it, make it easy for you to understand, and to guide you or assist you with achieving your desired goal.
So, what next?
If you are now ready to proceed with having your document notarised, please visit our Notary Fees page for a FREE quote on our notary public services or just call us on 02 9687 8885 and speak to our friendly staff about your requirements.
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We are a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our low-cost fixed fee notary services, our availability to provide notary public services on short notice, and our focus on personal and timely notary public services. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, our notary public assists clients from across all suburbs of Sydney and beyond.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of notary public services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.
Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.
All information contained in this article is for general purposes only and correct as at the time of publication. You should only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.