notaries, like their counterparts in most EU countries, are both civil servants and legal professionals. This twofold identity means that notaries are not limited to checking whether or not the legally specified requirements for each act or legal transaction are met, but may also advise clients to give legal form to the act or legal business.
Let’s take the sale of a home, for example:
As a public servant, the notaries you get in touch with to buy or sell that house will check the legality of both the intervening parties and the object of the sale.
They will verify the identity, capacity and legitimacy of both the buyer and seller: requesting their valid ID or passport, appraising their ability to consent and understand the effects that will result from that deed of sale and, if applicable, requesting their powers of attorney or deeds substantiating their position, if they represent another person or company.
As regards the property, they will check the seller’s title, the status of liens in the Property Registry, its description in the Land Registry, confirming that the current owner is up-to-date with property tax payments and, if applicable, the payment of community fees. They will ask the seller whether or not the property is leased, in case the lessee has the right of preferential acquisition, and will check how and when the price has been paid.
notaries are obliged to inform and impartially advise on the risks resulting from certain clauses, from the convenience of providing guarantees when there is a deferred price and from the tax obligations arising from the sale, both for the seller and the buyer. In other cases, for specific issues of urban zoning, works permits, advanced tax planning or negotiations between parties, notaries will politely refer them to their respective lawyers, consultants or agencies, who are most aware of their personal circumstances and who are in a better position to subjectively defend their interests.