Notarial acts are documents in which agreements and declarations are legally recorded. It is compulsory for some types of agreement to be included in a notarial act. Only then are they valid.
Notarial acts have a special meaning:
- Once a notarial act has been signed by the notary the date of signature is deemed to be the date of the act in relation to everyone. And everyone can rely on the fact that the act has been signed by the persons mentioned as signatories.
- Anyone who has arranged for a notarial act to be drawn up receives a copy (also known as an ‘execution copy’), which enables him to prove the agreements it contains. If a debtor has acknowledged in a notarial act that he owes a sum of money and then fails to perform his obligations, the creditor may proceed directly to execution (i.e. the sale of the debtor’s goods) on the strength of the execution copy. In such a case there is no need for the creditor to apply to the courts for leave to execute.
- The notary is an impartial expert who represents the interests of all involved in the drawing up of a notarial act.
- The notarial act must be kept in perpetuity. If the notary ceases practising, his notarial records will be transferred to another notary (his successor).
A notarial act is often made compulsory by law. A number of agreements and declarations become valid only if they have been included in a notarial act. The following are the most important examples:
- making or changing a prenuptial agreement or life partnership conditions;
- making or changing a will;
- transferring title to immovable property such as a house;
- establishing rights in reim, such as a mortgage on immovable property;
- incorporating a private limited company (BV);
- transferring shares in a private limited company;
- establishing a foundation.
Notarising documents executed under hand
The advantages of notarial acts also apply to agreements and declarations for which such an act is not required by law. For tax reasons e.g. cohabitation agreements are usually executed in the form of a notarial act.