The office of notary is an old and honourable one, and the actions of the notary should be above suspicion at all times. A notary is called upon to execute documents when such deeds need the highest degree of trustworthiness.


Therefor the parties appearing before the notary should be fully appraised of the content of the document they are about to execute. This is especially true of the most commonly executed and well-knownnotarial document, the Antenuptial Contract. Since this agreement governs the spouses’ future financial dealings with one another and third parties, and often forms the newlyweds’ first attempt at estate planning, it should be carefully explained and considered.


Notaries also draft and execute often complex servitudes governing and effecting people’s rights to their properties, and they need to understand theimplicationsof entering into them fully. These servitudes could restrict rights to property in perpetuity or could often just restrict rights for a limited period. The latter are often personal rights in the form of granting someone the use of the property for staying there(usus) or it can be the right to stay on the property and earn income from it (usufruct). Since these rights are often incorporated in wills, it is a good practice to make sure your drafter of the will also understands the effect and impact the granting of notarial servitudes will have on the estate, and have considered whether the right should be accompanied by concomitant obligations.


Notaries are called upon to certify copies of documents, especially for use overseas, and their right to do so and to be relied upon are then verified by the High Court in a certificate known as an apostille.