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German Law/Power of Attorney for Real Estate


I just repossessed my apartment in Germany (full back in my name) and now I want to sell it again. The easiest would be to give my brother in Germany Power of Attorney for this (as otherwise they send the contract over here, I have to go to the embassey (probably high fees), .... whicj takes a long time).
Now the questions:
1) I should proabbly use a Notary Public for this
2) Can it be in english?
3) Or if German can a german speaking american Notary Public do this?
4) or do I have to go to the embassey to do so?
Vielen Dank im voraus,
Marc (NJ)

Hello Marc,

1) 167 II BGB (German Civil Code) states that the power of attorney does not require the same form as the underlying business, but because 311b I BGB requires the notarized form for all real-estate deals, many people still insist on the power of attorney for such a deal to be notarized as well. To make it short: it's easier if your brother will have a notarized power of attorney.

2) Yes, it can be in English, but some people (like the notary public and the land register, possibly also the buyer) might ask for a certified German translation, so it would be best to issue the original power of attorney in both languages already. That can be done in one document.

3) Art. 11 EGBGB allows Germany to recognize the power of attorney notarized by an American notary public, but nobody can be forced to recognize this. Especially lawyers in Germany are rather reluctant to do so because they know that a notary public in the US doesn't have to be a lawyer (while in Germany any notary has to be a lawyer).

4) If you are close to a German Consulate, I would recommend using their services:

I know you are wary of going all the way to the Consulate and of their fees, but if you try to save on these now, your brother might have a lot more problems later because he can't force anyone to accept the American power of attorney.

Andreas Moser

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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