Power of Attorney in Switzerland

Power of Attorney in Switzerland

Updated on Friday 25th January 2019

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Power-of-Attorney-in-SwitzerlandTypes of powers of attorney in Switzerland

The Swiss Code of Obligations allows individuals to appoint others in order to represent them in certain situations. Representation is done through the power of attorney in Switzerland. The Swiss powers of attorney can be divided into two categories, namely the general power of attorney and the specific power of attorney.

Local and foreign natural persons can request to be represented in a wide range of legal matters by our team of Swiss lawyers, who can offer their legal expertise in numerous civil or commercial aspects. Some of the most common scenarios in which our attorneys can represent those interested in this matter are presented below. 


What are the rights and obligations deriving from the Swiss power of attorney? 

As mentioned above, the Swiss Code of Obligations is the main rule of law which defines the contractual relations that are established between two parties when signing a power of attorney. More exactly, this relation is stipulated under Article 394 of the Code and it refers to the relation that is created when signing the document between a lawyer and a given client
It is necessary to know that the contractual relation established through the power of attorney can be terminated through a minutes’ notice, which is stipulated under Article 404 of the same Code. Please note that when signing the document, the parties must respect their obligations deriving from this relation. In the situation in which the relation is terminated outside the established terms, it is necessary to know that certain liabilities will appear. 
In this sense, it is important to know that the party terminating the relation outside its scope will become liable to the other party. The legislation obligates the lawyer who will handle the legal matter through the power of attorney to represent the person with due diligence, which means that the attorney must act in the best interest of his or her client, regardless of the quality of the person.

What are the main situations for using the Swiss power of attorney?   

While the general power of attorney can be used in a broader sense, the specific power of attorney can be used only in certain cases in Switzerland – this means that our team of Swiss lawyers can only have the right of providing legal representation for a given situation and their powers can’t be extended in other matters. The power of attorney can be used for different purposes among which the most common are:
  • for business purposes – our lawyers can represent investors through the power of attorney in obtaining specific documents for companies or through the process of opening a local business;
  • for representation before the authorities or Swiss courts – the document can be granted for a wide range of legal matters that have to be solved through the local courts;
  • for concluding contracts on behalf of someone – when signing a contract it is highly advisable to receive legal assistance concerning its provisions, that must follow the stipulations of the local legislation and one of the ways to solve this is by granting the power of attorney to specialized persons;
  • for making payments – this situation can apply to both natural persons and legal entities interested in making various types of payments in Switzerland.
More details on the Swiss power of attorney are available in the video below:



Most of the times powers of attorney are used for representation in inheritance matters in Switzerland. For details on the procedure of granting the drafting powers of attorney, you can refer to our law firm in Switzerlandwhich has an extensive experience in handling legal matters related to the Family Law in this country, as specified above. 


What must a Swiss power of attorney contain?


Drafting a power of attorney is not that simple as it must contain certain elements which will attest its validity. Among these are the names of the individual granting the power of attorney and the representative. In Switzerland, powers of attorney must also be signed and dated and the documents should also mention the place where they were concluded.

One of the most important elements of the power of attorney is the signatures of both the donor and the empowered person. Usually, powers of attorney are signed before a Swiss notary who will also certify the deed. You can also ask our Swiss lawyers for further advice. 

Powers of attorney when doing business in Switzerland

One of the most frequent uses of powers of attorney in Switzerland is for business purposes. Foreign investors opening companies in Switzerland will usually appoint a trustworthy person to represent them in the incorporation procedure. However, powers of attorney can also be used when opening a corporate bank account, which is a compulsory requirement for companies. Powers of attorney can also be used when concluding a business contract with a Swiss company on behalf of a foreign investor.


The power of attorney in Swiss family legislation 

As mentioned in this article, the power of attorney in Switzerland can be used for civil matters and this also takes into consideration legal aspects deriving from the legislation regulating the rights and obligations of persons forming a family in this country (inheritance, purchasing a property, selling a property and others). 
It is necessary to know that the power of attorney can also be granted from one spouse to the other for specific legal matters. However, the document is not necessary for certain basic situations, for example, in certain medical decisions or completing various financial transactions – in this case, one spouse can easily represent the other spouse with no further documentation, as these are basic rights provided under the Swiss legislation
In the case in which a Swiss citizen wants to be represented by his or her spouse in legal matters, the power of attorney is necessary when making various types of investments or when the parties are interested in purchasing or selling real estate properties. It is necessary to know that the document is also compulsory in the case in which the two partners live in a civil partnership and our team of Swiss lawyers can provide more information concerning this matter.   
Persons interested in the legislation concerning the power of attorney in Switzerland should know that starting with 1st of January 2013, there are new regulations related to this document, which aim at the medical sector and refers to patients who have suffered a severe trauma that keeps them in a vegetative state. It is necessary to know that the canton of Zug has already ratified a similar legislation since 2009.  

For complete information about all the uses of powers of attorney, you can contact our law firm in Switzerland. Our team of lawyers in Switzerland can offer in-depth assistance on the matters in which they can represent locals or foreigners and can also provide further information on the legal procedure related to the matter for which the power of attorney was granted.