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I'm an American citizen but I live in Germany. I need to provide a Power of Attorney to my father to sell my car for me in the US. I am the principal. I own the car (completely, title in hand, purchased in the US). The car is in currently registered in Alabama, and is in his possession in Tennessee.

Will a business (e.g. dealer) in Tennessee (or even another US-state) recognize a POA that was:

  • Emailed to me
  • Signed before a German notary
  • Physically mailed back to the US?

Does this depend on the type of German lawyer? Will some of them refuse to notarize such a thing? Does this change by US state? Will I need an official translation to provide to a German notary? Must I use the US Embassy/Consulate notary services only? They seem to be totally out of appointments for the rest of the year, or are just might be suspending this service for now.

Is this possible and/or reasonable to do? I realize this is asking about legality that is split between two countries, which can be hard to answer. Thanks for any clarifications anyone has.

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    You may want to contact the US-based dealer and ask what they will accept. Generally a notary does not vouch for any of the information contained in a document, only that the person signing it was properly identified and signed it freely. That should be the case regardless of whether the notary is US or German.
    – jwh20
    Jul 29 at 18:50
  • Note that German law makes a difference between a notary and a lawyer. You used both terms in your question.
    – o.m.
    Jul 30 at 4:54
  • Have you considered alternatives like having him mail the pink slip for you to sign or transferring to your father at zero cost? Jul 30 at 6:16

1 Answer 1

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Will a business (e.g. dealer) in Tennessee (or even another US-state) recognize a POA that was:

Emailed to me

Signed before a German notary

Physically mailed back to the US?

Yes, although an apostille, which is a certification that the person claiming to be a notary in Germany really was a notary in Germany, prepared by a designated upper mid-level designed government official in Germany, would often also be required.

If the document is not in English, the document will probably also have to be translated by someone, who will probably have to fill out an affidavit stating that the translation is accurate. But, if the document is in English to start with, the fact that it is a German notarization will usually not need to be translated.

A less sophisticated business will often not insist on either of these extra formalities, however.

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  • The document is in English. Did you mean if it is not in German? And why is an apostille required? That state department link is confusing to me. How do I know whether I need the country or state version from 1)?
    – turanc
    Jul 30 at 7:11
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    The concept of an apostille is that people can't be expected to know if someone purporting to be a notary in a foreign country really is a notary, so a higher-level official from that country certifies that the notary (or other suitable official) really is a notary. Jul 30 at 8:44

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