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Power of Attorney in Denmark

Power of Attorney in Denmark

The power of attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on behalf of another person in legal matters, business and private affairs. Specific rules and regulations apply to power of attorney in Denmark. The person who gives the authority of legal representation (grantor) to another one has to be of legal age (over 18 years old) and prove an essential mental capacity. The attorney-in-fact has to be loyal and honest to the grantor. Danish power of attorney is required in several legal situations and may be revoked at any time deemed appropriate. If you need legal assistance and representation, our lawyers in Denmark can provide you power of attorney.

Types of power of attorney in Denmark

The written letter of authorization that is the power of attorney can be an awarded for a number of purposes, from private to business ones. The individual receiving the power, or the agent who is assigned, is sometimes referred to as the attorney-in-fact. He is required by law to enter into this agreement with the intention to observe the wishes of the grantor, by focusing on the grantor’s best interests. The agent has a fiduciary duty towards the grantor.

Depending on the jurisdiction, several types of power of attorney are available in Denmark:

• Oral and written – the Danish law usually requires a written power of attorney; hospitals, nursing homes and banks entail only a written form before honoring it;
• Durable – the power of attorney is effective even after the grantor has become incapacitated. This is also known as enduring power of attorney;
• For the future – it is a legal instrument that becomes effective only if the grantor is incapacitated. This allows for the grantor`s affairs to be managed in case of injury or illness;
• Health care – the attorney-in-fact has the power to make health care decisions for the grantor.

When the document is in a third language, it should be accompanied by a Danish or English version. The danish authorities will also accept document versions that compile two language versions, in a double-column format.

Some authorities in Denmark that accept submissions via a power of attorney can request that the document is no older than a number of years (as indicated). Moreover, for the document that is issued by a company, it should indicate the current situation, namely the individual who has signing authority at the date of the submission (as opposed to the individual who might have had this role in the past, if the power of attorney is an older version that does not reflect recent internal company changes).

Our attorneys in Denmark can provide you with a detailed presentation of the legal provisions of the power of attorney in this country. 

Situations that require power of attorney in Denmark

This legal instrument can be used in a variety of situations in Denmark and below we present some of them:

• For business purposes – if you want to open a company in Denmark or set up a branch, obtain special permits and licenses for your business or register for VATpower of attorney can be a very useful instrument;
• Finances – the use of power of attorney allows someone else to make financial decisions or conduct business in Denmark on your behalf. Closing a business or debt collection in Denmark can be done by the use of power of attorney.
• Health care – health-related decisions taken for you by the use of power of attorney.

Because this is a legal document, it is signed and dated by the grantor (at least) and formally executed by a notary. This is done in order to make any subsequent changes by a third party unavailable (precisely because it holds the signature and stamp of a notary office). This document must be notarized by a city court before it can be subject to legalization.  

A special situation appears when the power of attorney is a durable one. This means that the legal document will still remain in force after the donor becomes incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is an enduring one and it is common for those concluded for healthcare purposes, for example in case of people with dementia. As the disease progresses, these individuals will ne unable to make decisions regarding their finances or care, as well as other important ones. In this case, it is considered that the individual has lost mental capacity (when or if he can no longer retain information in order to submit a decision or when he cannot communicate the decision to another). In these cases, appointing the agent before metal incapacity sets in is important. The health power of attorney will only enter into force once the individual has lost the ability to make decisions. It is common practice for a medical practitioner to provide a confirmation that this is the case.

Another situation in which the durable power of attorney can be used in relation to the situation of the donor is when it is related to his condition: for example, a springing power of attorney enters into force only when the donor becomes incapacitated. From that point onward, the agent will have the powers described within it and not before this event.

The agent or the attorney-in-fact

The agent, sometimes called the attorney-in-fact, is the individual authorized to engage in activities, whether business or personal, on behalf of the grantor. The written authority given under the document is to be followed precisely by the agent, however, careful consideration is needed when appointing an individual to act in this capacity. When working with a team of professionals, such as our lawyers in Denmark, one can be sure of the duty of care they are bound to through their profession. In other cases, while the lay person (a relative, for example) who can be appointed as an agent to handle important family or financial decisions, is still bound by law under the power of attorney, he may misuse, take advantage of the awarded powers or fail to carry our the responsibilities or duties. In this case, the individual can face litigation. Appointing a professional, and not a family member, can prove important in such cases.

The power of attorney can be granted to one individual (or attorney) or two individuals (or more, as preferred by the grantor). When more than one attorney is appointed, there are two possible courses of action for the decisions that will be made in the name of the grantor:

  • Jointly: all the attorneys will act together, taking any decision together;
  • Jointly and severally: they will make certain decisions together and some individually; this means that both may decide on financial decisions and only one on living matters.

One should know all the options when drafting such a document, so that he or she may structure the powers as suitable as possible for a given financial or personal interest. This is why it is advisable to work with a team of lawyers, such as our attorneys in Denmark, in order to receive complete information on how you may delegate power for important life and business decisions and to whom you may do so.

The power of attorney can be cancelled at any time, regardless of the purpose it is used for (for example, immigration purposes as described below). However, the grantor must retain mental capacity to order the revocation of the document. The experts at our law firm in Denmark can give you more details on the lasting power of attorney and how it is implemented when or if the grantor becomes incapacitated. We can also answer other questions, such as the treatment of the document in the event in which the appointed individual is also incapable of performing his duties under the document.

Revoking a power of attorney is a process that also includes the submission of a statement for this to take place. The cancellation document will include the grantor’s personal information and it is also possible that it will be necessary to include a sound of mind statement. Other details, such as the name of the appointed individual and the original date of the power of attorney will be specified. Our attorney can help you revoke a power of attorney at any time.

The power of attorney is a useful legal document that can be used in relation to business, financial or personal purposes. Investors who wish to open a company in Denmark and cannot be present in the country at all times can designate one of our lawyers to act as attorney-in-fact.  This power of attorney will specifically state the purpose of the transfer of power as well as the permissions.

We invite you to watch a short video about the uses of a power of attorney:

Power of attorney for immigrants in Denmark

Our lawyers in Denmark can also help individuals who wish to submit a residence permit application or handle any other issues related to Denmark residence, work and immigration. The power of attorney will include the name and address of the grantor and the agent, identification details and, as in all other cases involving special powers of attorney, the clear purpose/purposes for which it is awarded.

A power of attorney used in submissions to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) or the Danish Immigration Service allows an individual to delegate another party to handle any needed issued. This means that the appointed party will take over all the rights and obligations of the individual, meaning that he or she will make or withdraw applications with the Immigration Service. However, in this particular situation, the Danish authorities may still ask the applicant to be present in person for biometrics recording. The power of attorney for immigration matters can, just as any other type of such document, withdrawn at any time.

The information that is filled in in most cases is the following:

  • the applicant’s name and address;
  • the name and address of the holder (and the company name, if applicable);
  • the immigration issues for which power of attorney is granted: submit the application for the residence permit, access the documents for the foreign national, submit statements that will be used for the case processing, receive confidential information that will be used in the application, represent the grantor in a revocation process or a verification process.

The power of attorney used in communications with the Immigration authorities ends when the case has been processed.

The legalization of a power of attorney

There are cases in which a foreign-issued document or a privately issued one, such as a power of attorney, will need to be legalized. This is a process that makes the document suitable for use in Denmark, and it is performed through an apostille under the Apostille Convention, if the document was issued in a country that has acceded to this convention. It should be noted that foreign documents are to be legalized by the issuing country, meaning that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not handle this step.

The legalization allows the document to be used, however, it is not proof that the said document is genuine. In some cases, Danish authorities may still check the document’s truthfulness. When the translation of the document in Danish is required, the following are general rules: the translation must be performed by a sworn translator and the translation itself will be the document that will be legalized. Only manual signatures are accepted on original physical documents (this means that a scanned document or a copy thereof will not be legalized). Digitally signed documents are also accepted, however, in this case, the sender must make sure that the digital signature is indeed included in the electronic version.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reserves the right to reject the legalization of a notarized power of attorney if it cannot be clearly determined that the document is Danish or if there are other reasons to believe that the document does not fall under the scope of the Apostille Convention. One of our lawyers in Denmark can give you more details should this be the case.

Certain fees apply for legalizations as well as other consular services. We list some of these below:

  • 200 DKK: the fee for the apostille/legalization applicable for each document that undergoes this certification;
  • 200 DKK: the fee for authentication, attestation, certification of copies; the equivalent of 27 Euros;
  • 245 DKK: or 33 Euros for minor translations performed with the Ministry; hourly rates apply and the minimum rate is for at least one hour;
  • 970 DKK: or 130 Euros for drafting letters and other document; an hourly rate also applies in this case, depending on the number of hours during which the applicant receives assistance (each commenced hour is charged as a full hour).

Do note that these fees can be subject to change and that some of the services, such as minor translations, can be performed with another sworn translator, not necessarily by using the services provided by the Ministry.

Individuals who wish to legalize a power of attorney issued in Denmark will be required to pay the fee (online payments are also available) and then personally go to the Legalization Office during the weekly workhours to present the original document and receive the legalized one. The service is a “while you wait” type. Another option is to send the original document by mail to the Ministry and enclose the proof of payment for the fee as well as handle the other postage costs. The usual processing time for mail legalizations is up to 5 business days from the date on which the original document was received by the Ministry.

The power of attorney is a versatile legal instrument that can be used for various purposes and it can be especially advantageous for foreign nationals who have business to attend to in Denmark. A practical and safe document, when properly executed is allows the grantor to make sure that important matters are attended as intended, whether immediately or in the future.

Our team can help you draw up the adequate power of attorney, according to your specific purposes. Moreover, we can also assist you in drawing up other types of legal documents, such as the will.

Don`t hesitate to contact our law firm in Denmark if you need legal representation in this country.

Our team also works with partner accountants in Denmark. If you already own a business, or plan on opening a local company, we can provide solutions for companies of all sizes and across all industries. Our packages are tailored to the needs of our clients and include bookkeeping, accounts payable and accounts receivable, payroll processing, bank reconciliation as needed, and tax matters, among others.