Why Do You Need A Notary In Spain If You Are A Foreigner

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Having the services of a notary in Spain provides legal and financial security to foreign residents. It is an investment that guarantees peace of mind in numerous legal and administrative aspects.

A Spanish notary plays a fundamental role in the authentication of important documents and in providing legal advice in matters such as inheritances, mortgages or house purchases. This figure is essential to ensure that legal transactions are carried out according to Spanish law and that the rights of foreigners are duly protected.

What is a Notary?

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A notary is a public official of the State who must provide citizens with the legal security stated by Article 9 of the Spanish Constitution. They develop their work in the area of extrajudicial legal transactions.

The notary verifies concrete facts previously agreed upon by legal parties. In the same way, he must legitimize them and give public testimony of all this. Public testimony, or public faith in Spanish, is the power granted to the notaries by law to authenticate statements made before them. Their responsibility is focused on preventing fraud and being impartial witnesses that certify the authenticity of a document.

But why? Let’s see an example: imagine that your father dies and, in his will, he stated that everything he owes will pass to a lover that none of the heirs knew about until that very moment.

If there were no notary present when drafting the will to confirm that particular reality, the other heirs could claim their part of the inheritance, since there would be no way to guarantee the reality of what the deceased wanted.

The main tasks performed by a notary

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The work of a notary is crucial in the legal and administrative life in Spain. He acts not only as a guardian of legality, but also as a trusted advisor who facilitates clear and secure transactions, protecting the interests of all parties involved and contributing to the stability of the legal order in the country. In order to perform their duties without being biased, the interested parties are free to choose whatever notary they want. In Spain, notaries offer the following services:

  • To issue powers of attorney
  • To draw up and process public deeds for the facts and acts provided by law or for those cases in which it is the will of the parties to do so.
  • To elaborate public deeds for the cancellation of mortgages.
  • Keep, open and publish closed wills.
  • Acknowledge private documents, leaving public record of what was stated by the interested party and what was contained in the document.
  • Authentication of copies or signatures.
  • To give written testimony that a person is alive (this is known as “fe de vida”).
  • To issue copies of public deeds.
  • Correcting errors in public deeds.
  • Keeping and preserving notarial records.

When do I need a notary?

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Another frequent question when talking about notaries is… When do I need them if I live in Spain? Is it compulsory to have them give “public testimony” in all legal procedures and transactions?

Well, not in all of them, but there are a multitude of cases in which you may require a notary (and, sometimes, it is mandatory by law to have one). Although this is not an exhaustive list, keep in mind that you need a Spanish notary if…

  • If you want to make your will
  • If you are going to receive / give away a house or a car
  • If you are going to purchase or sell real estate
  • If you are  any loan or credit operation.
  • To draw marriage contracts and prenuptial agreement.
  • To officiate marriages.
  • To create or liquidate commercial companies.
  • To attest mergers, spin-offs or business transformations.
  • To transfer shares and participations.

Choosing a good notary is crucial to ensure that legal documents are handled correctly. First, it is important to consider the notary’s experience and specialization in the specific area of your interest, such as real estate or wills, as this can ensure more accurate and effective advice. Also, look for opinions and references from other clients to evaluate their reputation and level of satisfaction.

A good notary should offer clarity and transparency in their processes and fees. It is also advisable to select someone who shows professionalism and good communication, essential qualities to facilitate the procedures and ensure that all your doubts are resolved.

Finally, verify that the notary is duly registered and authorized to practice in your area, which you can do by consulting the professional registries or associations of notaries.

However, if you are not sure about how to find and choose the best notary for your purposes, bear in mind that there are companies who can help you through the process.

For instance, Spanish Notary is a legal firm specialised in the management and processing of notarial documentation whose team of specialized advisors can help you resolve your procedures with the Notary without worrying about anything.