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What Is A French Notaire, And How Can They Help You?

Notaires in France are essential people when buying or selling property in France. Their predominant role is to handle legal matters but differ from an English solicitor in many ways. A typical role for a Notaire is to draw up contracts between parties. They can be needed for either domestic or commercial purposes. You're most likely to come across a Notaire when buying property in France.  

A French Notaire is effectively a civil servant as the Ministry of Justice appoints them to receive all the “actes” and contracts that require a seal of authenticity, safekeeping and date assurance when acquiring property.

A Notaire's Role When Purchasing Property

When buying property in France, you will require a Notaire to prepare the final deed. They are also responsible for obtaining all searches regarding the property. Several checks are often needed when purchasing a property, including the right to sell and the right to acquire; this responsibility also falls to the Notaire to ensure the job is done thoroughly. In basic terms, their role is to provide the sale of the property goes through smoothly and fairly to both parties. This role always includes checking the title of the property to ensure it contains no problematic causes or discrepancies that can adversely affect the property's value both at the point of sale and further down the line. In some respect, they work in the same way as a conveyancing solicitor does in the UK but are hired and appointed independently.  

On the completion date, the Notaire is responsible for reading the dead thoroughly to both the buyer and the seller to ensure they agree to all clauses. They are also trained in making any necessary amendments and will do so at this point. Once both parties have approved the deed, the purchaser will exchange the money for the property's keys. Post-purchase, the Notaire is responsible for registering the title deed at the Land Registry. 

Do You Have To Have A Notaire?

The presence of a Notaire is non-negotiable, but you are free to appoint your own. If you have limited knowledge or understanding of the French language, we recommend you acquire a bilingual Notaire fluent in English and French, so nothing gets lost in translation. If you're buying property in a particularly rural part of France, your local Notaire may not be fluent in English. In that case, it may work in your favour to hire an independent interpreter to be present in any meetings, so you are aware of discussions. 

Other Responsibilities Of A Notaire

The role of a Notaire is not limited to the procurement of property. They are also qualified to prepare acts between family members where wills and inheritance are concerned. This can also include inter-spouse transfers and gifts. Their knowledge spans just as equally in capital gains and inheritance taxes, should they be your concern. Should a disagreement arise between two parties, whether business or personal, the Notaire can mediate as an independent arbitrator and help find a solution. 

Are you thinking of buying property in France? Whether you're relocating, acquiring a second property or inheriting a property, there are many points to consider. A Notaire ensures both pirates get a fair deal and all procedures are followed correctly. Navigating a foreign country can be challenging without understanding the laws and requirements. The French Ministry of Justice made it a legal requirement to appoint a Notaire in any estate handling. At France Tax Law, we have a team of experienced and knowledgeable law professionals and a French qualified Notaire to navigate any proceedings you require. Contact our team today for more information on choosing a Notaire and acquiring property in France. 

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