Lawyers in Portugal

Purchasing a property in Portugal should be an exciting process, but at the same time it can also be a very daunting one. One of the best ways to avoid any pitfalls and to protect your investment is to ensure that you instruct a reliable and trusted English-speaking Portuguese lawyer.

Choosing a Portuguese lawyer

Choosing the right Portuguese lawyer (advogados) is an important decision. It is recommended that you instruct an independent Portuguese lawyer who has experience advising international clients in relation to property purchases in Portugal.

Your Portuguese lawyer should:

  • Be independent. This means that they are not connected to the estate agent, seller or developer in any way. Therefore they will be working to look after your interests only and not the interests of the seller or selling agent. Therefore you should find your own lawyer rather than taking a recommendation from the estate agent or using an in-house lawyer.
  • Be English-speaking. Unless you fluently speak Portuguese, you will need an English-speaking lawyer. You should feel confident that they will be able to fully understand any questions that you are asking, regarding the purchase and that they will be able to fully answer these questions in a way that you understand.
  • Have experience of advising international clients with property purchases in Portugal.
  • Be registered. You should ensure that your lawyer in Portugal is properly registered with the local bar association (Ordem dos Advogados). Your lawyer will be able to provide their registration details so that you can check this.
  • Be insured. You should check that they have adequate Professional indemnity insurance to protect you should there be any problems as a result of their advice.

All lawyers recommended by Total Buying Abroad are registered and insured. They also speak English fluently as well as Portuguese and provide all of their advice in English.

If you would like details of a recommended independent English-speaking lawyer in Portugal we can help. Contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478 911.

Why should you instruct a lawyer to purchase a property in Portugal?

Instructing a Portuguese lawyer will help you identify and understand any issues there may be in relation to the property you are purchasing, understand the property buying process and avoid any potential problems.

Your Portuguese lawyer will:

  • Review the purchase contracts and make sure that they contain everything that you need to protect your position.
  • Carry out searches and checks on the property and check the title deeds before you sign the purchase contract to ensure that you are not bound to the purchase before you have all of the necessary information and safeguard your deposit.
  • Ensure that you are protected from liability for any charges left over from the previous owner, such as mortgage costs, taxes or any other unpaid debts.
  • Provide information about any tax or inheritance issues in Portugal that you may be affected by. They can also help you to prepare a Portuguese will to cover the property.
  • They are also able to provide assistance with practical matters, such as obtaining a fiscal number which is required to purchase property in Portugal, setting up a bank account and they may even assist with setting up the utilities on the property after purchase.

Investing the relatively small cost of instructing a recommended independent lawyer in Portugal could save you a lot of expense and stress in the long run and will give you peace of mind.

What is the role of a Notary in Portugal?

A Notary (Notario) will have involvement in every property transaction in Portugal. A Notary is a legal representative for the Portuguese Government but they do not advise or protect the interests of the buyer or seller. Their role is purely to oversee the paperwork, collect any taxes and register the property with the Portuguese Land Registry.

Should I give my Portuguese lawyer a Power of Attorney?

If you are not able to be in Portugal for the duration of the property purchase then it is common to provide your Portuguese lawyer with a Power Of Attorney. This is a legal document that gives your lawyer (or any other person that you choose) the authority to act on your behalf. This means that your lawyer will be able to sign the necessary documents on your behalf and will mean that you don’t have to be present in Portugal to complete the purchase or get a fiscal number for example.

Whilst it is common, a Power of Attorney gives a significant amount of power to the person you have given authority to. Therefore you should be completely comfortable with the person you are appointing, the wording of the document and ensure that you fully understand what you are agreeing to.

Your lawyer will be able to prepare the Power of Attorney document and it should be written in English and in Portuguese unless you are a fluent Portuguese speaker.  It will need to be signed by you in front of either a Notary in Portugal or in front of a Notary Public in the UK.

If you would like details of a lawyer in Portugal or a Notary Public in the UK- contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

How much does a Portuguese lawyer cost?

As general idea, most lawyers’ basic fees for a property purchase are  1-2% of the property purchase price. However there is often a minimum charge of around (€1,000-1,500). This can vary depending on the expertise of the firm, the property that you intend to purchase and the region that it is in.  If you require a Power of Attorney or assistance with obtaining a Fiscal number, this can increase the cost slightly.

It is important to factor in the purchase taxes, land registry and notary fees, which will be additional to the lawyers fees. It is usually recommended to allow 10-12% on top of the property purchase price to allow for these additional costs.