Power of Attorney from the Internet? Better to the notary!

Last updated: July 14, 2023 4 min read
from Notary Manuel Busch

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What happens if you can no longer take care of your own affairs, for example after an accident or as a result of illness? Many think that the spouse can then automatically decide everything. But that is a misconception! Rather, in such cases, a supervisor would have to be appointed. There is no certainty that the court will appoint the person you want to be the guardian. In addition, care procedures are lengthy and cause some costs.

Better empowerment than mentoring

The ordering of a guardianship can be avoided by means of a power of attorney. With such a power of attorney, the principal gives a trusted person the opportunity to act on his behalf. As far as the power of attorney goes, there is no need for a supervisor. Powers of attorney are an important instrument of self-determination: Instead of placing your fate in the hands of state institutions, you decide for yourself what should apply if the worst comes to the worst.

Tempting: power of attorney from the Internet

The temptation is great to simply google for a power of attorney, fill out the appropriate form and print it out. The advantages are obvious: The process is simple and (usually) causes no or relatively low costs.

But there are also some disadvantages: There are a large number of forms that are of very different quality. If you are unlucky, you will use a bad or outdated template. There is also a risk that the form will be filled out incorrectly due to a lack of legal knowledge. Who knows what, for example, submission to immediate enforcement, the power to sub-authorize or the exemption from Section 181 of the German Civil Code mean?

The greatest risk: Even a legally sound power of attorney is useless if its form is inadequate. In principle, it is sufficient to sign a power of attorney. However, if the power of attorney should also cover real estate transactions, the notarial form is mandatory. The same applies to the commercial register. Anyone who owns real estate or a company must go to the notary, since a private written power of attorney is not sufficient. The conclusion of a loan agreement with the bank also requires a notarized power of attorney.

Example: Richard received an apartment from his mother many years ago. The mother has reserved the right to live in the apartment so that she can continue to live in the transferred apartment. In the meantime, the mother had to be transferred to a nursing home because she was seriously ill with dementia. Richard now wants to sell the apartment and has to have the housing law canceled for this purpose. He submits a private written power of attorney from his mother for the deletion. However, the power of attorney is not accepted by the land registry, so the sale fails.

Better to the notary

It is therefore worth going to the notary for the power of attorney. A notarial power of attorney covers all types of legal transactions. It can therefore be used extensively.

Another advantage of the notarial power of attorney is that a replacement can be provided at any time. If the power of attorney is lost or destroyed, the notary can issue another copy. In the case of private written powers of attorney, on the other hand, the loss of the original practically means the loss of the possibility of representation. If the principal is temporarily incapacitated, the appointment of a supervisor is essential.

Finally, the notary ensures that you receive legal advice and that the power of attorney corresponds to your needs and wishes.

Cost of a notarial power of attorney

The cost of notarizing a power of attorney depends on the assets of the principal. The business value is half of the assets (maximum EUR 1 million). The notary then charges a 1.0 fee. These notary fees already cover legal advice and drafting, so these services are "inclusive".

Example: Max would like to have a power of attorney notarized. His fortune is 100,000 euros. Notary fees of 165 euros plus expenses and sales tax arise for this. For comparison: the annual court fees alone for long-term care in the area of assets amount to at least 200 euros.

frequently asked Questions

Powers of attorney can also be set up in private. However, going to the notary is necessary if the power of attorney is to be used in real estate matters and vis-à-vis the commercial register. The conclusion of a consumer loan agreement is also only possible with a notarized power of attorney.

The notary costs for the certification of a power of attorney are primarily based on the assets of the principal. The business value is half of the assets, up to a maximum of EUR 1 million. The notary then charges a 1.0 fee. These costs also cover legal advice and drafting.


Manuel Busch

Notary in Cologne

Real estate law
corporate law
right of inheritance
family law

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