The role of the Notaire in France is critical to several aspects of daily French life.
What is a notaire?
A Notaire is a legal specialist who is self-employed but has public authorityand is vested with the privileges of official authority which he or she receives from the State.
A Notaire is a public officer who will operate in all areas of law including family, property inheritance, asset, company law, countryside law, local authorities, etc.
The Notaire in France acts on behalf of the State and is appointed by the Minister of Justice, and the fact that an instrument is drawn up by a Notaire is a guarantee of its legality and authenticity.
Although he has a public authority, the Notaire operates on a self-employed basis and is responsible for his own office and is paid by his clients (and not the taxpayers) on the basis of a rate fixed by the State for the services he provides.
Notaire are located throughout the country according to a zoning system worked out by the Minister of Justice to best serve the needs of the population. Notarial offices are not subject to “numerus clausus” restrictions which would limit the number of Notaires operating at any one area.
The Notaire is empowered to authenticate instruments by affixing his seal and signature. By doing so, he or she officially witnesses the wishes expressed by the signatories and gives his personal guarantee regarding the content and date of the instrument.
Most foreigners in France are likely to have dealings with a Notaire when it comes to purchasing a property as Notaires are the only body legally empowered to handle the process on behalf of clients.
Choosing a Notaire is a personal matter but you may find that a mortgage broker or estate agent (immobilier) may have an established relationship who they will recommend – but the choice is entirely yours.
The sum paid to Notaires, which is commonly and mistakenly referred to as “Notaire’s costs”, actually comprises taxes, expenses and the Notaire’s remuneration.
The Notaire must collect a sum from the transaction that is payable to the State on behalf of his client. Approximate 80% of total costs but fees are variable according to the type of instrument and property.
The Notaire will charge for expenses which he will disburse on behalf of the client to pay various parties for costs of documents etc. – approximately 10% of the total costs.
The Notaire’s actual remuneration is about 10% of total costs.
You can find out more from the Notaires de France website.