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Power of Attorney for South Africa

Authorising someone to act on my behalf in South Africa

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Do you live in Australia but you want to appoint someone to look after your property, business, or other legal or financial dealings in South Africa? You can achieve this by appointing that person as your attorney under a power of attorney.

Many of our clients require notary public services to sign the power of attorney for property dealings or other real estate transactions in South Africa.

Who prepares my power of attorney for South Africa?

Someone who knows the laws, procedures, and documents used in South Africa should prepare your power of attorney. A qualified lawyer in South Africa is usually the best choice. Your lawyer can provide you with the most relevant and appropriate document. They can also advise you on the requirements in South Africa. This is to ensure that your power of attorney will be valid and accepted.

Even if your lawyer won’t write the actual document, they should be able to provide you with a sample or a template. A sample special power of attorney for South Africa will help you understand the requirements and avoid any mistakes. So far, all of our clients signing the power of attorney for South African have had their lawyer in South Africa prepare it for them.

Can I use a power of attorney from Australia?

We don’t recommend it. A power of attorney used in South Africa should be a power of attorney from South Africa. Don’t attempt to use a power of attorney that’s been prepared for use in Australia.

For example, you shouldn’t use the template for a power of attorney according to the Powers of Attorney Act 2003 (NSW). Usually, this power of attorney is only valid in New South Wales and Australia.

Australia and South Africa are different countries. Accordingly, different laws, procedures, and documents apply. There’s a risk that whatever you prepare in Australia will only be valid in Australia and won’t be valid in South Africa.

Where can I get more information about a power of attorney for South Africa?

Ask your lawyer in South Africa for more information about a power of attorney for South Africa. Don’t blindly follow advice from online forums, or chat groups or just download any template from the internet. If you haven’t checked whether it’s correct, reliable, and relevant, how do you know you’re doing the right thing?

The internet is a large source of information, but it’s not always helpful. Sometimes the information can be incorrect, inappropriate or irrelevant to your situation. The power of attorney is an important legal document. Using the wrong information or template from the internet can have unintended consequences.

Improperly preparing your power of attorney can lead to rejection or more complications, which means wasted costs and irreplaceable delays.

Do I need to notarise my power of attorney for South Africa?

Usually, a power of attorney for South Africa must be notarised if it’s signed in Australia. Many templates state that it should be signed in front of a commissioner of oaths, but in an Australian context, the equivalent would be a notary public.

Accordingly, to have your power of attorney notarised, you must sign it in front of a notary public. The notary public will verify your identity, witness your signature, and notarise your power of attorney.

Your lawyer in South Africa can tell you whether a justice of the peace can witness you sign your special power of attorney. A justice of the peace is only empowered to sign documents for use in Australia. Usually, a justice of the peace won’t be recognised in South Africa and so they can’t witness you sign your power of attorney for South Africa. Also, if your power of attorney for South Africa must be stamped with an apostille then it must be witnessed by a notary public. An apostille cannot be stamped on a document that has been attested by a justice of the peace.

What does notarising my power of attorney mean?

Essentially, notarising your power of attorney confirms that you are the person who signed it. To notarise your power of attorney, you must:

  • Personally appear before a notary public;
  • Provide a valid photo identity document such as a passport as proof of your identity; and
  • Sign your power of attorney in front of the notary public.

The notary public will verify your identity, witness your signature, and notarise your power of attorney.

Usually, the power of attorney for South Africa will refer to your South African national identity number (especially if you are still a South African citizen). If so, you must bring your South African passport or your South African national identity card to your appointment with the notary public.

Why do I need an apostille?

Australia and South Africa both belong to the Apostille Convention. This means most documents must be stamped with an apostille before they can be sent to South Africa from Australia. Without an apostille, those documents won’t be accepted in South Africa.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the ‘designated competent authority’ for issuing the apostille. DFAT can put an apostille on:

  • public documents (like original Australian government documents); or
  • notarised private documents (like a power of attorney).

Your power of attorney for South Africa is a private document. Your power of attorney must be notarised before it can be stamped with an apostille.

Power of Attorney for Australia

If you intend to appoint someone to act on your behalf in Australia (ie, not in another country), then your power of attorney must be prepared in Australia according to the law of the state in which you reside.

In addition to providing notary public services to assist people with their power of attorney used in other countries, we also provide legal services to prepare and witness the NSW Power of Attorney, which can be used across Australia.

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Do you have any questions?

Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.

If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We’ve also created a flowchart to explain the process.

Not sure what you need? Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

So, what’s next?

Visit our Notary Fees page for a free quote for our notary public services. Otherwise, call us on +61 2 9687 8885 to speak with our friendly team about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We’re a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We’re known for:

  • Our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries;
  • Our low-cost fixed fees and service offerings; and
  • Our availability to help on short notice.

Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.

Ern Phang
Ern Phang
Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney and beyond.

Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to countries all over the world.

All information on this website is for general purposes only and correct at the time of publication. Only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.
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