Partner and Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Andrew & Co Solicitors Helen Newson writes...
What is a Notary Public
Although many Notaries Public are also solicitors, this is a separate branch of law. A Notary Public is an internationally recognised lawyer who deals with the certification and authentication of documents for use anywhere in the world by attaching his or her signature and seal. A notary public’s responsibility is to everyone who may be relying on the documents, not just the person who asks the notary to authenticate them, so the notary will usually need to carry out some checks into what is being notarised.
What is Legalisation?
In most cases the notary’s signature and seal will need to be certified by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (this certificate is known as an Apostille). The FCO charge a fee for each Apostille (currently £30). In some cases the documents will also need to be sent to the consular section of the embassy of the relevant country for their stamp – this is often called legalisation. They will charge a fee, which varies greatly depending on the country and sometimes the type of document.
How Long Will it Take?
Usually appointments can be arrange at fairly short notice. You should allow at least half an hour for the appointment (more if there are a number of documents or it is a particularly complex matter). If the notarised documents do not need an Apostille or legalising by a consulate you will be able to take them away with you at the end of our appointment.
Arranging for the Apostille and legalisation can take a few days and we may also need to carry out some independent verification of documents that require certification – such as qualifications – so it is important to make an appointment as early as possible, particularly if there are deadlines in the transaction, and if possible provide the documents beforehand so we can let you know if there are any queries.
How Much Will it Cost?
An approximation of fees and disbursements can be given when you arrange an appointment, but please bear in mind that that this is subject to my meeting you and seeing more about what is involved. Fees are payable at the time of the appointment.
Proof of Identity
When attending your appointment, please arrange to bring in proof of identity, such as a current passport or photo driving licence and a recent utility bill or bank statement showing your home address. Documents entered into by or on behalf of companies will need evidence that the signatories have the authority to sign them and we will also need to carry out a company search.
To make an appointment with Catriona Wheeler, please phone us on 01522 512123 (Lincoln) or 01636 673743 (Newark).