If you need to have legal documents witnessed or verified, you may need a notary public. Such documents are usually required in foreign countries.
The documents required to be witnessed or verified by a notary public may be prepared wholly or partially by foreign lawyers. Sometimes they are required to be prepared by the notary. However, all documents certified by a notary are “notarial acts”.
Claire Grylls is a qualified notary who can provide a full range of notary services to private and corporate clients to be used around the World.
What is a notary?
A notary public is a public officer appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is subject to regulation by the Faculty Office.
A notary is able to draft, attest, certify and authenticate documents under their notarial seal anywhere in the world. A notary’s seal ensures that the document will be accepted within the UK and in another country.
A notary is also able to exercise their powers as a Commissioner for Oaths.
A notary is required to:
- Satisfy themselves as to the identify of each client.
- Ensure the client has capacity and authority to enter the proposed transaction.
- Check that the client understands the document they will be bound by.
A notary is required to keep copies of all documents requiring their involvement. A record is also required to be kept of each transaction. Such documents must be made available to anyone with a right to see them, such as the client, or another party to the transaction.
How Can We Help?
There are many documents that may require a notary’s participation. This applies to both UK nationals and foreign nationals living in the UK.
A notary is likely to be required in the following situations:
- The sale or purchase of a foreign property.
- Attesting certificates of life for individuals receiving overseas pensions.
- Adoption applications relating to a child from another Country.
- Certification of copy document e.g. Passports or Driving Licenses.
- Applications to work, study or live abroad.
- Consents to travel abroad with children.
- The sale or purchase of foreign investments and shares.
- Sponsorship declarations.
- Requests to marry or enter a civil partnership abroad.
- Emigration applications.
- Administration of a deceased’s estate involving foreign property or assets.
- Attesting signatures of company officers to company documents for use abroad.
- Documents in legal proceedings.
Independence and rules
A notary is an independent officer whose work is carried out independently of Stantons. A notary should not act in matters where they have a personal interest and are subject to professional rules to protect their clients. Notaries are bound to follow the rules on the prevention of money laundering.
A notary must act impartially and although they are able to act for both parties in a contract, they must identify any potential conflicts of interest and try to resolve them if possible.
You must ensure you bring to your appointment evidence of identity. This must be dealt with by providing one form of photo ID, such as a current passport or driving license, and one form of address ID such as a recent bank statement or utility bill no more than 3 months old. If you do not, the notarisation will not be able to take place at the meeting and you will need to arrange another appointment.
If the document requiring notarisation is in any language other than English, it may be necessary for it to be translated. This will need to be discussed before the appointment.
If you are acting as an Executor or Attorney, you must bring to the appointment the Grant of Probate or Power of Attorney authorising you to act on behalf of another individual or a company. If you are acting on behalf of a company, you must also bring with you the Company Resolution authorising the transaction.
To ensure the notary can advise you effectively, you will be asked to email the document requiring notarisation in advance of your meeting so that the notary can be satisfied as to the nature of the transaction and advise you of any specific requirements. This will also enable the notary to provide you with a detailed and accurate quote.
If the document is straightforward, already prepared and in the correct form the notary is likely to need to see you for a minimum of 20-30 minutes and complete it in half an hour. Obviously it takes longer if the document is not straightforward or the notary has to draw up the document or make a proper copy.
Many countries want documents to be countersigned by their London embassy (legalisation) and this will take several days unless you want to take them to the embassy in person and wait in line. The fees and procedures for this vary widely but the notary should be able to give you a reasonably accurate idea of the time and cost.
If a notary is required to deal with a document in a foreign language, they must satisfy themselves that both they and the client understand the meaning and effect the document will have.
A notary will not advise on the meaning or effect of the document or the transaction of which it forms part, but does need to make sure that the client understands the document they are signing. A client will therefore need to provide to the notary at the appointment copies of correspondence or advice that they have received which will be copied for the notary’s records.
Some documents may require legalisation or for an apostille to be attached by the Foreign Commonwealth Office, a consulate or embassy after they have been notarised. We can also take care of this for you.
Legalisation is required by some countries to check that the notary who has verified the document is genuine and recognised as a notary. The notary’s signature and seal will be checked against the records held to ensure they match.
The cost of notarial services will depend on the volume and type of documents that need notarising. The hourly rate is £250 per hour plus VAT and the minimum charge for notarisation will be £150 plus VAT. We will happily provide a quotation after discussing your requirements. Payments must be made at your appointment in cash or by bank transfer.
Our office is located in Gravesend where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.
We can also offer meetings at your home if the need arises.
Claire Grylls is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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