latin america power of attorney POA

What is a Power of Attorney (POA) / Poder? Latin America Company Incorporation

Author: Felipe Guzman Ayala

There is a common misconception that in order to form/register a company in Latin America, you have you be physically present at the time of the company incorporation. Incorporation processes such as filing documentation, registering with local authorities, preparing the company by-laws, opening a corporate bank account etc can be complex and time-consuming. 

Power of Attorney (POA) / ‘Poder’ is a useful tool that simplifies the company formation process, allowing a trusted local partner to complete the company formation on your behalf, without the need for you to be physically present in the country where the company formation will take place. 

The explanation below will provide a clearer image of how a POA (´Poder´) can allow you to set-up a business in Latin America without the need for you to leave your office. 

What is a Power of Attorney (POA) and When is it Used?

latin america poder
POAs are very common when commercial activities are being conducted outside of an individuals/company’s place of residence

A Power of Attorney (POA) / ‘Poder’ is a legal document which grants a legal agent, attorney or organization the right to manage legal affairs (often commercial) on the behalf of an individual or company. POAs are very common when commercial activities are being conducted outside of an individuals/company’s place of residence (i.e a company from the USA engaging in commercial operations in Colombia).  

A common use of a POA is for the incorporation of a legal entity in Latin America; with the POA granting a local individual/company (usually a legal firm or attorney) the right to complete the company incorporation on behalf of the grantor of the POA. 

*Please note that a POA / ‘Poder’ is approved through a national notary, by apostille (assuming the country is within the Hague Convention) or through national legalization. 

What Are the Different Types of POA? 

  • General Power of Attorney

As the name states, this type of control granted to the elected agent is broad.

  • Special Power of Attorney/Limited Power of Attorney

The special power of attorney grants the agent limited control of the grantor’s affairs, with the POA specifying which affairs the agent can control. 

How is a POA Created? 

A POA can be created through an oral declaration at a court, or through a formal document. The latter is the most recommended way of creating a POA given most countries and their respective financial institutions require a physical, authenticated and notarized documentation to complete formal procedures. 

In regards to the formation of a company/legal entity in Latin America, creating a POA will require the following steps: 

  • The grantor will provide information regarding their business needs and requirements to its local partner abroad (i.e the need for the local partner to complete the company incorporation process on behalf of the grantor)
  • The local partner (legal firm, attorney etc) will draft the POA and send to the grantor 
  • The POA will need to be notarized and apostilled
  • The POA will need to be physically mailed back the local partner 

Once the completed documentation (the notarized and apostilled POA) has been received, the local partner can begin the company formation on behalf of the grantor. 

Please note that the country where the apostille takes place must be part of the Hague Convention. 

POA Benefits When Doing Business in Latin America?

Deciding who will be your agent is a crucial factor when it comes to POAs, given the grantor is trusting someone to perform legal procedures in their name. 

A lack of knowledge on the local business environment can complicate the process of doing business in Latin America, for this reason, a POA can be a useful tool – allowing a trusted partner to complete business processes and registrations on your behalf, without the need for you to travel. 

The use of POAs are especially beneficial for companies looking to establish operations abroad, yet don’t have the time or capacity to travel.. 

Biz Latin Hub can support you and your business in Latin America

At Biz Latin Hub, we have a multilingual team for legal, accounting, recruitment and company formation services, ready and waiting to support your business efforts in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Our broad range of services allow our clients to do business with the peace-of-mind that they have checked all the commercial boxes, and that they are compliant with all the relevant legislative and regulatory criteria.

To learn more about how we can assist you in doing business in Latin America, contact us.

Also, you can learn more about our team of professionals and how they are enabling commercial growth across Latin America.

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The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Craig Dempsey

Craig Dempsey

Craig is a seasoned business professional in Latin America. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group that specializes in the provision market entry and back office services. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honors and a Master's Degree in Project Management from the University of New South Wales. Craig is also an active board member on the Australian Colombian Business Council, and likewise also active with the Australian Latin American Business Council.

Craig is also a military veteran, having served in the Australian military on numerous overseas missions and also a former mining executive with experience in various overseas jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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