The role and assignments of the notary

Family
Notaires as family advisors

Notaires have always provided the answers to families' questions on legal, tax and estate issues : pre-nuptial agreements, gifts, wills, joint ownership agreements, family-owned non-trading companies and estate settlements.

They are witnesses to the changes occurring in family structures (decrease in the number of marriages, increase in the number of civil unions and divorces) and family estates (mobility, adaptation to the various stages of life, establishment of mutual support mechanisms within families, over-indebtedness). They are rising to the challenge of the new needs resulting from these changes by proposing appropriate legal and tax solutions.

The work of the notaire is not limited to dealing after the fact with the financial consequences of family events such as divorce, death or a disabling accident. They are also advisors whom families may consult at any time to prepare for the transfer of property or to change the structure of an estate, in accordance with their current and future needs (housing, retirement pension supplement).

As legal and financial advisors to families, notaires help to prevent conflicts and minimise the number of lawsuits.


Business
Notaires as consultants to business owners

Notaires offer consulting services to business owners. They handle all aspects of business law : choosing the form that is best suited to the owner's plans, founding the company, legal management of the company, conversion, amendments to its by-laws, sale of shares, mergers, split-ups and, in general, all matters related to legal entities.

Notaires also execute transfers of commercial and skilled trade businesses, draw up and transfer leases and, in general, draft all contracts pertaining to economic activities, such as financial leases, franchises and transfers of controlling interests.


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Notaires as real estate experts

In a complex legal environment, the notaire adds an element of security to real estate transactions.

This type of transaction involves drafting a deed that clearly defines the terms of the agreement between the seller and the purchaser and establishes their respective obligations. To begin with, the notaire performs a number of checks regarding, in particular, the vendor's title to the property, whether there are any liens or agreed easements on it, and the applicable town planning laws. There are more than one hundred legal and tax issues to which the notaire pays close attention when preparing a deed of sale. This complexity is compounded by the large number of financing facilities available. Moreover, once the sale is completed, the formalities carried out by the notaire require in-depth knowledge of the tax laws in terms of registration, value added tax and capital gains tax. To ensure that sales have the legal security offered by an official deed drawn up by a public official, the public authorities have granted notaires exclusive access to the land register maintained by the mortgage registries.

Notaires also provide legal and tax advice with regard to subdivision, construction and renovation projects. Furthermore, thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the real estate market and its mechanisms, they are qualified to determine the value of a property and perform appraisals. Some notaires are involved in real estate negotiations and assist the seller or buyer in finding a co-contracting party.

Lastly, notaires involved in property management offer investors the skills needed for efficient management of their real estate holdings.


The notary advises

The notary advises If you are considering purchasing a property, the notary advises you for honing down your purchasing project, finding the property that meets your expectations, choosing the best financing, or else facilitating all of the formalities you have to accomplish. If you wish to sell your property, the notary advises you for honing down the overall project in which the sale fits, completing your sale rapidly and on the best terms, and explaining and facilitating all of the formalities you have to accomplish


The notary negotiates

Since property negotiation requires professional skills possessed by notaries - skills in valuation, in property law, and in taxation - it is worth using the services of the numerous notaries that are in practice. Authorised by you, the notary seeks a purchaser for the property that you wish to sell, or looks for a property that you wish to acquire. Using a notary offers a guarantee :

  • of security, because the notary is a sworn public officer liable financially and legally for the deeds that he or she draws up; and
  • of efficiency, because the notary puts his or her knowledge of the market at your disposal.

The notary has access to a national database listing the property currently for sale and the property currently wanted.

Fully acquainted with the legislation and with market trends, the notary will give you enlightened advice about the effects of the transaction on your estate and on your taxation.


Making the sale legally secure

In France, any property sale contract must be established by a notarised deed. The notary, who is a public officer, guarantees proper execution of the contract. This action taken by the notary thus gives the acquirer and the seller absolute security at the same time as the notary gathers all of the details and all of the documents essential to fully informing the parties, and drafts the deed of sale, he or she makes all of the checks necessary for the sale not to be called into question for any reason whatsoever.

For example, the notary:

  • checks the identity, marital status, and legal capacity of each of the parties
  • gathers the planning documents making it possible to determine the constraints on the property sold
  • clears all of the rights of pre-emption of the tenant, of the municipality, etc.)
  • checks the title deeds and the rights of way and other easements that might affect the property
  • checks the mortgage situation of the property sold
  • questions the agent authorised to manage co owned property
  • gathers the information concerning the acquirer's loan in order to put in place the guarantees requested by the lender
  • etc.

The notary also offers the best legal guarantees to the parties for drafting the pre-contract". sale agreement or undertaking, that binds the future sellers and acquirers for the time necessary for searching for and examining the documents necessary for the sale.

Finally, the notary obtains the signatures of the parties, and takes the steps necessary for ensuring that the deed of sale is valid and is kept safely, and in particular:

  • informs the agent authorised to manage co owned property
  • performs obligatory formalities with the land registry
  • performs obligatory formalities with the office of mortgages (for modifying the property file, and entering the new owner)
  • duly makes the mortgage entries guaranteeing the loan(s) that the acquirer has requested
  • pays the transfer duties due to the tax authorities, and pays the property capital gains tax and duties.


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Magazine des notaires

Magazine des Notaires

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