Many transactions are concluded where either the buyer or the seller lives or works overseas. Contracts of sale can be signed, scanned and sent back to the conveyancers or agents from anywhere in the world, however, from a conveyancing point of view, the signing of conveyancing documents when a party resides outside of South Africa is not so simple.
Section 63 of the Uniform Rules of the High Court regulates these requirements, and conveyancing documents that are signed overseas can only be used at our Deeds Office if they are properly authenticated.
This can be done at any foreign South African Embassy or consulate service overseas, and there is some relief if the person wants to sign in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. In those instances, a Notary Public in that country can also authenticate the documents that have been signed. Once signed, such documents are then sent back to the conveyancers by courier as the original documents are required to be submitted at the Deeds Office with the authentication certificate.
It does help if a Power of Attorney is signed prior to departure from South Africa, enabling a third party to sign some of the documents on behalf of the client. Some documents however cannot be signed under Power of Attorney such as affidavits.