Notary Services in Germany
Notary Services in GermanyUpdated on Thursday 21st March 2019
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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.
- - 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.
When are notary services required in Germany?