Why Do You Need A Notary Public?

A Notary Public is an attorney admitted and authorised by the High Court of South Africa to witness signatures, draw and attest contracts and statements, authenticate the validity of certain documents.

A Notary Public is held to a higher standard of care than an attorney. Due to the ethical nature of the services which they render and the specialist knowledge in the drafting and/or legalisation of certain documents, the office of a Notary Public is held in high esteem.

Notarial Deeds

Certain documents are required by law to be notarially executed, in which case a Notary Public has to draft the document which is then signed and witnessed in the presence of the Notary Public.

These documents are known as notarial deeds, and include, inter alia, ante- and postnuptial contracts, deeds of servitude, deeds of cession of usufruct, notarial leases, trust deeds of donation and notarial bonds.

Such documents are kept in the Notary Public’s safekeeping and the Notary Public is also required to keep a protocol and register of all the documents drafted by and attested to before such Notary Public.

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Apostille and Authentication

Besides notarial deeds, a Notary Public is furthermore needed for the legalisation of documents which include attestation, apostille, authentication and notarisation of a document for use in foreign countries.

Legalisation of documents means that official (public) documents to be used internationally are affixed, sealed and signed with either an Apostille Certificate (where countries are party of The Hague Convention, to which South Africa is a party) or a Certificate of Authentication (where countries are not party to The Hague Convention) attached thereto.

Documents a Notary Public can certify

A Notary Public is used to certify a range of legal documents, including:

  • Marriage Certificates
  • Birth Certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Single status Certificates
  • Divorce Certificates
  • Police Clearance Certificates
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Copies of ID’s or Passports
  • Educational documents