Since Anne is not going with me to sign the purchase agreement for the property, I need to have a power of attorney, or procura speciale. Giovanna sent me the proper documents, in both Italian and English. She said to have Anne sign them and get them notarized. Then she said I also need to get an apostille for each document.

A what? I thought at first this must be an Italian term and that she was misunderstanding what a notary in the US does. No, she said. It’s what you call it in the US, too. (I assume it is a Latin term originally.)

Apostille Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

It’s a certification by the state that the notary is a notary and is commonly used when sending documents to foreign countries.

Giovanna thought I needed to ask the notary to get the apostille, but my research showed I could do it, through the Illinois Secretary of State. I could mail it to the state capital, Springfield, or go in person to an office in Chicago. Unfortunately, Giovanna had sent the documents to me too late for me to get it via return mail. So I needed to make a trip downtown.

I was dreading this step, figuring that I’d need to stand in line and wait a long time to get the documents processed.

As it turns out, waiting wasn’t the problem I encountered. There was no line and a friendly employee took my documents right away . . . and told me she couldn’t give me the apostilles.

The problem was with the notary’s certification. She had just stamped and signed the document, but it needed to have a boilerplate statement included about who signed and when. The notary had not included this, so I had to return home empty-handed.

It seems that a document prepared here includes this statement as a matter of course, but I do think the notary should have noticed something was amiss when she certified Anne’s signature.

I added the right text and Anne went and got the documents notarized again. I was off to Chicago again, wondering what I’d be missing this time.

Fortunately, smooth sailing. In about 10 minutes, I had my documents with apostilles and should be set for the contract signing next week.

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