France Tax Law 020 8115 7914

French Power of Attorney: Explained

Power of Attorney is an incredibly complex concept to fully understand. There are slight differences in the full abilities that power of attorney provides an individual with among countries. This makes it important to fully understand how french power of attorney works and the rights it gives an individual when making decisions for another.  

In this article, we will define the power of attorney in France and explore the powers this provides when making decisions for another person. We will also guide you through the power of attorney process and what it includes. 

Power of Attorney: What is it?

Power of attorney is also known as 'procuration' in France. A procuration is a legal document that provides a third party (known as an agent) with the power and authority to make decisions on behalf of an individual. These decisions can be related to any financial issues or personal affairs that the individual has. A procuration can be granted by law to the agent for various legal reasons, such as the principal (individual in question) not being capable of making rational decisions on their behalf anymore.  

When the document is created, it must specify the parameters within which the agent can operate, which decisions they can make and which they are not. A procuration will only become valid if consent is received from the principal to pass over power for the agent to make decisions on their behalf. If this is not the case, the document will be invalid and not legally binding.

What are the boundaries?

There are some rules regarding procuration, who can provide power of attorney and who power of attorney can be given to as the agent. Firstly, let's talk through the condition of the principal and the boundaries surrounding their condition to provide another person with power of attorney over their decisions.  

For an individual to provide another with power of attorney over their decisions, they must be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind, capable of making their own decisions regarding their finances and personal affairs. A person who does not have full mental capacity is not able to provide another with power of attorney over them in France.  

When we look at the boundaries surrounding the agent in this process, the agent must be a trusted individual in the eyes of the court system, including a french lawyer. This is to ensure that the agent's intentions are genuine and in the principal's best interests. They will only be responsible for making decisions aligned with the content within the procuration. 

Uses for Power of Attorney in France

In France, power of attorney is primarily used when any major financial decisions must be made or any decisions surrounding the principal's personal affairs. Power of attorney can be used for any bank account-related operations, paying taxes, business transactions, and signing legal papers relating to the principal's finances or personal affairs. 

Different Types of Power of Attorney in France

Four key types of power of attorney can be utilised in France. These are:

Ordinary power of attorney

This is highly dependent on the purpose of the application for the power of attorney and the specific individual needs of the principal. This is the standard edition of power of attorney and refers to an agent making decisions for the principal based on their own decision to relinquish this power to the agent. 

Protective power of attorney

Protective power of attorney is highly similar to ordinary power of attorney but with a key difference. The difference is in the intention behind the action. Protective power of attorney can be put in place by a principal for one or more individuals, giving them the power to make decisions for the principal when they can no longer do so. Therefore, this protects the financial and personal interests of the principal. 

Lasting power of attorney

Lasting power of attorney, also known as mandat de protection future, is a document put in place to protect the principal should they ever lose their mental capacity. If this becomes the case, the agent will automatically take charge of all decisions made for the principal relating to their financial and personal affairs.  

It is important to note that a mandat de protection future cannot be implemented if the principal has already lost their full mental capacity. If this is the case, an application will have to be filed through the court system to allow an individual to make decisions on behalf of another. 

Posthumous power of attorney

Posthumous power of attorney takes hold on the day an ordinary power of attorney ends. This is primarily intended for the heads of businesses and allows an agent to make decisions based on enterprises owned by the principal after death. This can come into place to help a vulnerable heir to this estate if they are not ready to take on such a responsibility. 

Contact us

Learning the ins and outs of power of attorney in France can be challenging. Power of attorney is a complicated, multi-layered legality and can become challenging to understand. We hope this guide has been useful in understanding the basics of power of attorney. If you're looking for a team of experts to help and advise you on French law, get in touch!  

Our team of experts in French law are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you in any way we can. Take a look through our FAQs to learn more about what we do and how we can help you further. 

Back To News