A Notary Public is a specialist attorney who is legally empowered to officially witness signatures, administer oaths, certify the validity of documents, and perform a wide range of administrative functions of national and international nature, including the drafting and/or legalisation of certain documents.
The legality of these documents can then be assumed, drawn from the fact that the document was notarially executed.
Examples of documents drafted by a Notary Public
Some of the types of documents that can be drafted by a Notary Public include the following:
- Powers of Attorney
- Notarial Bonds
- Antenuptial and Postnuptial Contracts
- Life Partnership Agreements
- Long and short-term Lease Agreements
- Notarial Lease Agreements
- Notarial Deeds of Usufruct and Servitudes
- Notarial Tie Agreements
Examples of documents certified by a Notary Public
A Notary Public is used to certify a range of legal documents that include the following:
- Marriage Certificates
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Divorce Orders
- Police Clearance Certificates
- Powers of Attorney
- Copies of ID’s or Passports
- Educational documents
Apostille and authentication of documents for international use
Apart from notarial deeds, a Notary Public is also needed for the legalisation of documents which include attestation, apostille, authentication, and notarisation of documents for use in foreign countries.
The purpose of an Apostille Certificate is to simplify the legalisation of documents for use internationally. The legalisation procedure depends on whether the country is a party to the Hague Convention for international treaties and declarations. If the country is a party, the only legalisation required is an Apostille Certificate.
When a country is not party to the Hague Convention, a more complicated procedure is necessary. This procedure requires authorisation from four authorities in South Africa as listed below and takes the following steps:
- Notarisation of documents by a Notary Public.
- Authentication of the Notary Public’s signature by the Registrar of the High Court.
- Authentication of the Registrar’s signature by an official from the Foreign Affairs Department.
- The document is then transmitted to the foreign embassy in South Africa of the country in which it is intended for use.
- The foreign embassy then sends the document to the relevant authority in the country that requires the document.
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The articles on these web pages are provided for general information purposes only. Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the content provided is not intended to stand alone as legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified attorney on any specific legal problem or matter.