Documents For India Need Notarisation? Louise Helps You Through The Maze

Documents For India Need Notarization? Louise Helps You Through The Maze.

A high percentage of my workload relates to documentation prepared for clients with Indian connections. Typically this will be paperwork relating to Powers of Attorney or to the Administration of the Indian Estates of deceased relatives.

If there were only one message I could give, it is that it ultimately costs more to get it wrong than to get it right. Taking shortcuts in respect of legal documentation for any foreign Country is a recipe for wasting money.

Typical mistakes include the following:
1. Drafting the Deeds yourself.
2. Failure to Witness as required
3. Failure to Notarise
4. Failure to legalise

There are more mistakes which can result in rejection of your documents in India, but these four above are far and away the most usual.

To expand on these –

1. Drafting the Deeds Yourself.

Christopher Atkinson has been a Notary for over Twenty Two years and we have a copy of every Indian Power of Attorney that he has ever notarized. There are many hundreds of them and each one is different in words or in format. If you have any experience of India, you will know that nothing is standardized there. Most Indian Lawyers consider that their documents are the only correct ones. The Moral – Get your lawyer in India to draft your paperwork. If you draft it yourself, or even if we draft it for you, most probably they will reject it. It can be emailed over to UK and then I can print it at my office for you.

2. Failure to Notarise.

There are unfortunately many Solicitors who appear to be willing to countersign as the “Notary” witness on Indian Deeds. This is ALWAYS WRONG. A Solicitor who is not also a Notary, is not accepted in India as an appropriate Certifier for your Deeds.

3. Failure to Legalise

This is a tricky area. India has signed the 1961 Convention of The Hague and your Notarized documents should be legalised with the Apostille stamp. But, to muddy the waters, often documents will be accepted without this, and on the other hand sometimes Indian lawyers incorrectly ask for an Indian High Commission Stamp. This article is too short to give full details of all the problems, but I can explain if you phone or email me. Also we have written other blogs on the subject, if you use the index on our website searching for “India” or “Apostille”.

4. Failure to Witness.

With the exception only of some Bank Deeds, all Indian Deeds executed in England and particularly Powers of Attorney require that your signature is witnessed by two adults in addition to the Notary.

And do not do what we have sometimes seen. A client with a Deed for India requiring two witnesses and the notary, brings us a document already signed by two friends, who do not appear with him at our office.

“What are those signatures?” We ask – reply, – “those are the witnesses! They can’t get time off work, so they signed it last night, ready for me to sign with you today!”

No really, we have seen this several times.

There are so many ways to get this wrong, only one way to get it right. Again, I do explain what is needed whenever a new client contacts me, and in my Office I can provide these extra Witnesses.

There are of course other ways to get things wrong. Some Deeds will be rejected unless you add photographs. Some Indian Lawyers demand [wrongly] that you use pre-stamped paper purchased in India. Some insist on green paper, some insist on strange sizes of paper…

The message I am hoping to give, is that time spent on preparation, in contacting your foreign lawyers and quizzing them in great detail as to EXACTLY what they want from you in England, will not be wasted. Otherwise the experience can turn into a frustrating and expensive [in both time and money] series of trial and error experiments.

As I say, I shall be only too happy to assist you through the maze. You can contact me or Mr Atkinson here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email or via the website