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Signing Transfer Documents When You Are Outside South Africa

It often happens that a person may be overseas and will still have property that needs to be sold and transferred in South Africa. This means that a sale agreement would need to be signed and at a later stage transfer documents would need to be signed.

If the Seller is outside of South Africa this can be done in one of the following ways:

  • While the owner is still in South Africa, he signs a Special or General Power of Attorney granting the authority to someone in South Africa to sign the sale and transfer documents on his behalf. A Special Power of Attorney will be specifically for the sale and transfer of the property while a General Power of Attorney will give the grantee a wide range of powers such as dealing with bank accounts.

It must be noted, however, that some documents such as Affidavits, have to be signed in person and can’t be signed by the grantee. If possible these should be completed prior to the Seller leaving the country.

  • The seller can sign a Special or General Power of Attorney while in the other country. However, because the document is signed outside of South Africa, it will have to be authenticated. The most common (and usually cheapest) way of authenticating documents outside South Africa is for the person to go to a South African Embassy and do it there. Otherwise, depending on the country, the document can be authenticated by any duly authorized person of the particular country who must be shown to have the necessary authority by obtaining a Certificate or Apostille which is annexed to the document. In a few countries, signing in the presence of a Notary practising in that country is sufficient.

  • Another way is for the seller to sign the sale agreement and later all the transfer documents himself in the other country, but of course all the documents will have to be authenticated.

In all instances, the original documents must be handed or couriered to the Attorney attending to the transfer of the property.

If you require any assistance with signing Transfer Documents please contact us at

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