What Exactly Does A Notary Do Anyway?
I have summarised the nature of my work in one sentence on my website – “The function of a Notary Public is to substantiate evidence of human activities” Fine – but what does that mean in the real world and what exactly do I do all day?
For this blog I thought it might provide a helpful answer to that question if I simply prepare a list of the scope and nature of the work I have done in a typical few weeks. In every case, the person attending my office has been required to produce an original passport and at least one other proof of residence address (Bank statement, Council tax bill or utility bill).
In addition where the client is a Limited Company, PLC or LLP I have commissioned a search of Companies House, to ascertain that the Company exists and who are its directors and to see its Memorandum and Articles of Association. Where appropriate I have obtained Foreign Office Apostille or Consular legalisation (see my main site and other blogs for more explanation of that)
So, I have recently:-
• Witnessed a Deed of Conveyance, for a house purchase in Jamaica. Although an Apostille can be obtained for Jamaican documents, none is usually required • Witnessed the execution of a Deed of Power of Attorney by a Company Director in relation to the transfer of shares in a German Company. Also, obtained Apostille • Provided certified evidence of the existence of a UK Company for the purpose of evidence required by a German Court. Apostille
• Witnessed the execution of a personal Power of Attorney in favour of a foreign lawyer for a house purchase in Malta. Apostille
• Witnessed the execution of a personal Power of Attorney in favour of his brother so that my client could deal with his affairs in Hong Kong. Again, Apostille required
• Act as supervising Notary to the execution by my clients of their Wills dealing only with their Estates in Spain. Apostille
• Certified for use in the Canary Islands that a UK Grant of Probate is genuine, so that the Spanish Estate of the Deceased could be administered. Apostille required
• Twice in the past week, I have acted for Doctors seeking to obtain work permits and visas for Australia, and prepared certified copies of their professional qualifications and degrees. Australia does not (yet) require any Apostille.
• For a client moving to India, obtained certification from his children’s school as to their academic progress so that they can find appropriate school placing in India. And see my blogs about the ongoing saga as to whether my certificates for India should have Apostilles (yes!) or Indian High Commission Certification (no!)
• Took evidence and prepared Affidavits from a couple wishing to marry in Sri Lanka stating that each is single and adult and free to marry. For Sri Lanka the usual requirement is for an Apostille plus Consular Authentication but in this case the travel agents concerned said no legalisation was needed. I advised my clients to check this very carefully
• Witnessed a Power of Attorney appointing a lawyer in India for use in Indian Court proceedings where there is a land ownership dispute. The four children of an Indian citizen now all live in England and their father has died. They now require to protect their land rights. Apostille
• Witness execution of a mortgage Deed for use in Florida. In Florida, a Deed which is executed in England is required to have been signed not only in the presence of a Notary Public but also in the presence of two additional adult witnesses. Although no Apostille is usually required for US Deeds, in fact the United States is a party to the Convention of the Hague. For that reason occasionally Floridian lawyers will request the Apostille. Often this is required for New York and California also.
• Witnessed the execution of house sale papers for Barbados by the Executor of the deceased house owner there. No Apostille is required for Barbados when the deeds are executed in UK
• Witnessed the signature of a letter of authority by a Company sales executive to confirm for the authorities in Saudi Arabia that a person there is its genuine agent. For Saudi Arabia, legalisation with Foreign Office then Saudi Consulate via the Arab British Chamber of Commerce
• Countersigned for USA a medical student’s application for permission to sit medical examinations there. No further authentication was required.
• For Slovakia, obtained from the UK Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages a Birth Certificate for a child born here of Slovakian parents. Obtain the Apostille upon it, so that the certificate would be accepted in Slovakia and the child could obtain a Slovakian passport.
• For Saudi Arabia and also United Arab Emirates, I witnessed a Power of Attorney Deed and a copy of a Board Meeting resolution produced to me by a Company director of a UK Company and dealt with all legalisation (Apostille, UAE Consulate, Saudi Consulate via Arab British Chamber) in order to establish the decisions of the Company as to its representation in those jurisdictions.
• Confirmed for the Spanish Tax authorities the status of a major UK PLC company in relation to its VAT registration and obtain Apostille
There is I think no limit to the scope and nature of the actual jobs I may be called upon to do but I hope the list above gives a flavour of the very interesting and varied problems – and solutions – that I deal with day to day.
As ever, please do email me if you would like me to respond to any thoughts or queries you have, arising from this blog