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Notary Services in Germany

Notary Services in Germany

Updated on Thursday 21st March 2019

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Notary-Services-in-Germany

The profession of notary falls under the regulations of the Federal Notaries Act comprised in the German Civil Law and their wages are regulated by the Fees Act. German notaries are registered with the regional Chamber of Notaries. Notaries in Germany authenticate and attest documents and act as public officers within one jurisdiction. German notaries are also allowed to provide legal assistance when concluding contracts. Also, certain states allow notaries to act as lawyers in Germany. Notaries provide services in the following areas:

  • - real estate,
  • - successions,
  • - family law,
  • - corporate law, etc.

 

What are the types of notaries in Germany?

In order to become a notary in Germany, one must pass a state exam and have minimum 2 or3 years- experience as notarial candidates or lawyers. Notaries are also divided into three types:

  • - the single profession notary,
  • - the advocate-notary,
  • - the state employed or civil servant notary.

Single profession notaries provide notarial services only and are not allowed to practice other activities. Single profession notaries are designated by local Ministries of Justice. German single profession notaries must first act as notary associates for a period of time ranging from 3 to 6 years. Individuals who act as a notary-only are appointed in the federal states like Bavaria and Hamburg. 

Advocate-notaries are more common in Germany, as they are lawyers first of all, the notarial duty being exercised as a second profession. In order to become an advocate-notary in Germany, one must practice for at least 5 years as a lawyer of which 3 must be within a notarial office. In Berlin, Bremen, Hessen and in other federal states, lawyers will practice the profession of a notary in addition to that of a lawyer.

State-employed notaries are not subject to the Notarial Law because they act as civil servants on a fixed salary. Nowadays, state-employed notaries exercise in the Baden Württemberg region only. However, starting with 2018, state-employed notaries will become independent notaries.

Individuals or investors in Germany will require notary services when buying property and also when opening a company in Germany. Some of the documents that are needed to open a GmbH, for example, need to be drawn up in front of the notary. Company directors usually have their signatures certified and they also need to give certain statements. 

What are the duties of notaries in Germany?

German notaries are required to follow the federal statutory guidelines. Among these are:

  • - to verify the identity of those asking for their notarial services,
  • - to verify the competence of parties when concluding a contract in Germany,
  • - to explain the content and emerging obligations in a contract or other legal document,
  • - to witness the signing of any legal documents.

When signing a document, the notary must affix his or her official seal on the document. Also, a properly executed document will be recognized by a German court of law.

Some of the responsibilities of a notary will include the following
  • - impartiality: the notary can be regarded as a counselor for both parties and he is not the representative of a single party;
  • - advisory: they serve an advisory role and can influence the legal process through their counseling, they do not however legally represent the parties like our attorneys in Germany.
  • - refuse illegal pursues: a notary in Germany is expected to refuse illegal or unethical objectives.
  • - professionalism: in their activities, notaries are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism, as per their position.
 
The fees for notarization vary in Germany, however, they are regulated as per the type of service and are thus calculated in relation to the value of the service (the economic value of the authenticated statement, for example, in case of real estate transactions). When the estimation of the value is not possible, the notary may estimate the value and calculate the fees accordingly. The Federal Act on Notary Fees and the German Federal Regulation for Notaries and other laws are legal resources that are used to regulate this profession and the manner in which fees are imposed.
 

When are notary services required in Germany?

 
Notarizations or the signing of documents in front of a notary is common in Germany, it refers both to actions completed by individuals, and by those who are already involved in business activities as well as those who are just drawing up the documents to incorporate a company.
 
For individual and family purposes, notary services are required for drawing up marriage contracts as well as obtaining documents that confirm that the two individuals are free to marry in Germany. In other cases, the notary can issue a document that proves the paternity of a child born outside of a marriage. For real estate and inheritance purposes, the notary plays an important role in Germany. When drawing up a will, it is recommended to request legal services, live those offered by our team of attorneys in Germany, and then proceed to signing the will in front of the notary. 
 
For corporate and business purposes the notary fulfills a wide range of services. Firstly, he plays an important role in the formation of companies. The legal entity’s deed of incorporation, the director’s specimen signatures as well as any statements are given in front of the notary and in some cases in the presence of witnesses. 
 
A power of attorney is also used for business and individual purposes and it is a document that is drawn up in front of a notary. He is also the one who can offer adequate advice on the type of powers for the designated individual: a full power of attorney may be useful in certain cases, however, most of them are concluded for specific purposes only. The notary will help draw up this document and explain the manner in which the principal and the agent will relate to one another. A clear understanding of the duties and liabilities under a power of attorney is required and one of our lawyers in Germany can give you more details on this topic.  
 
In some cases, the presence of a translator or interpreter may be needed in the notary office when drawing up specific documents. This is required when foreign investors or entrepreneurs sign certain documents for notarization. The statements and signatures are to be given in good faith and it is important for both parties to understand the implications when one of them is not a German native. 
 
Our law firm in Germany is a full-service firm that offers various legal services and works with a team of experts who provide attorney and notary services. For notarial services you can also contact our law firm in Germany. We offer complete solutions for the formation of companies as well as drawing up needed documents.