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We have had numerous POAs done here in Boquete in years past. An attorney needs to prepare the POA specific to the issue being addressed. I have never seen a "general POA" form in Panama.

The secretary of the City Council here in Boquete (at city hall) can "certify" signatures. Certification is not the same as a notary. I am not aware of a notary in Boquete. But for a POA, a certified signature has always worked for us. BTW, she charges $5.00 per certification. You must show your cedula (or passport) when getting a signature certified.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A update to the Power of Attorney (POA) created without lawyer. This was originally created at the public notary office in David. We requested a document be created to give my wife "complete and unlimited" power of attorney in Panama with no expiration (unless revoked).

All requests were verbal (our first mistake).

My wife and son, both legal residents of Panama, were flying to the states for the holidays. Panama law requires a recent notarized letter no more than 90 days old authorizing a single parent traveling with a child across the border has permission from the other parent, to prevent kidnappings where there may be no jurisdictional recourse. 

We figured this would be a good opportunity to test our POA. With full knowing that anything that could go wrong in Panama, I also wrote a brief letter explaining to any official concerned that the document given to my wife gives her POA over all of my affairs which does not expire. I expressed my permission to allow my wife to exit the country with our son and included a copy of my Panama Drivers License. At the bottom I signed and dated it for the same day they were traveling. All of it was written in Spanish using Google Translate. I concluded this extra letter with "please make a photocopy of all of these documents for your protection."

I instructed my wife to only show the letter if the POA did not work. She was rejected by the first two agents. Each time she was rejected she would reenter another line and try again. The third agent read the POA front to back word for word and stated this is "a power of attorney for furniture". She made copies of everything and instructed my wife that if she had a birth certificate copy showing that I was the father that the extra letter that I created would suffice. This is Panama, what works once for me is no guarantee that it will work for you.

The last customs agent did let them pass but now we have to redo this POA or change our son's name to "Furniture". Will we do this at the notary? Call me stubborn but I believe it can be done, so yes. Will I have someone write what I want it to say in Spanish beforehand? Absolutely.





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Was told by a paralegal studying to be a lawyer who writes legal documents to help pay for school while he studies law, that he cannot legally write a POA.

I wonder what the intent of the translator at the notary office who wrote me a POA solely governing furniture was.

I was quoted $200 lawyer fee plus government fees by one attorney. I will be getting a second quote from another whose English is also very good. There will be no misunderstanding the next time. I plan to use our US POA as a guide.

I have also learned that one could answer customs that they are not a resident of Panama when travelling out of the country with an absentee parent so long as the child has a foreign passport. 

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