The role of the Notary a public in foreign property deals

The role of the Notary a public in foreign property deals

Many individuals who wish to buy or sell a property overseas often choose to deal with the transaction whilst remaining in Nortgern Ireland .If you wish to sign the papers in Nortgern Ireland, then in the vast majority of transactions your signature will need to be ‘notarised’.Usually, and particularly in civil law countries in Europe, Central and South America, this will involve you appointing an attorney, normally a legal representative in the foreign country, by way of a document called a Power of Attorney. 

The Power of Attorney is normally drawn up by your legal representative in the Country in which the transaction is occurring, as they are expert in that country’s laws. The document usually allows them to sign all documentation and conduct all necessary activities in the foreign jurisdiction on the client’s behalf for the sale or purchase of the property.

The document is then forwarded to the individual in the UK along with any other paperwork which needs to be witnessed with instructions to get the documents notarised. The contents of the Power of Attorney are dictated by the legal requirements of the Country where the document is to be used.

The Power of Attorney is often in a foreign language and may or may not come with an English translation. It is essential that the Notary public is satisfied that you understand the contents of the documents you are signing and this usually means that they will need to see English translations of these documents before they are prepared to notarise them.

Whilst a Notary Public can witness you signing the documents and verify your understanding of them, the principal advice you obtain on a transaction should come from your legal representative in the country where the documents are to be used.

The Notary will confirm your name and identity by examining original documents such as your passport, driving licence and utility bills and then sign the document and formally seal it with their official seal. For common law countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most parts of America this is sufficient and the document can then be returned to your foreign legal representative.

If on the other hand the purchase or sale is in a civil law country then further legalisation is usually required by way of an apostille, which is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London for Nortgern Ireland. An apostille is an official certificate which is attached to the rear of the notarial act and confirms the validity of the Notary Public’s signature and seal.

A limited number of countries then require the notarised and apostilled document to undergo further legalisation by their embassy orconsulate in the UK. This usually involves the addition of a further certificate to the document.

DNDLAW Solicitors 

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