What is a Notary?

A Notary Public is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with foreign or international business. More often then not most Notary Publics are also Solicitors.

To prove that your documents are valid a particular country’s authorities may require the document to be notarised by a notary pubic.

Only a notary public has the authority to authorise and certificate a documents legitimacy so that it can be used in another country.

Notaries are mainly concerned with the authentication and certification of signatures and documents for use overseas. some example of this are:

  • Dealing with purchase or sale of land and property overseas

  • Preparing and witnessing powers of attorney for use overseas

  • Authenticating company and business documents and transactions

  • Providing documents to help administer the estates of people who own property or live abroad

  • Authenticating documents for immigration or emigration purposes, or to apply to marry or to work abroad

Most notaries act in that capacity to provide the sort of services described above, however they can also provide authentication and a secure record for almost any sort of transaction, document or event.

The circumstances relating to need to use a notary will vary, the first step would be to contact a notary public you will need to make an appointment to see them, they are sometimes prepared to travel to you but this is likely to cost you more.

You will need to ensure that you have evidence of your identity, for example a current valid passport along with proof of address in the form of a bank statement , government document or utility bill.

In addition to this they will want to see any relevant papers or documents that relate to the matter that you are trying to resolve. Do not arrive at the Notary’s office without an appointment. The Notary may not be there or may not be able to attend to your business immediately. Telephone in advance to check the Notary’s availability and ask for an appointment. Notarising a document today requires the same anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering formalities as apply on opening a new bank account. The rules are very strict. Fill in all the gaps in the documentation to the best of your ability beforehand. If you are unsure and need guidance, the Notary will help you if he/she can. It is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the document you intend to sign and have notarised. There is no set fee for Notarial services. The Notary will charge a proper professional fee that reflects the cost of the Notary’s services in terms of time, skill and responsibility, similar to other professional service providers but will be happy to provide an indication on the initial contact.

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