The notary is engaged in a public service activity while being members of a profession. He is appointed by the Minister of Justice. He ensures the notarization of deeds. He carries out his mission over all the French territory, wherever his place of establishment.

The purpose of notarization is to guarantee the legal certainty of deeds and to ensure their full effectiveness. Therefore, notarization is the essential condition for the success of the main deeds of the life of individuals (real estate purchasing, marriage contract, donation, inheritance, …) and professionals (professional estate purchasing, commercial lease transfer, business succession,…). Plus, notarization gives as much protection as a private insurance. 


By notarizing a legal deed, the notary gives to this deed three essential qualities:

It ensures the free and informed consent of the contracting parties and provides them with all the advice and information essential to the proper understanding of the terms and legal consequences of the act.
The notary is the guarantor of consent and understanding.

It ensures the publicity of the deed (especially concerning real estate) in order the existence of it shall be known by all and that no one can challenge it.
The notary is the guarantor of the publicity.

It gives the deed a probative force higher than any other type of legal act. The sincerity of a notarial act can not be challenged except if the criminal responsibility of the notary is entailed. 
The notary is the guarantor of security.

Legislator considers some deeds so important that they must be notarized mandatorily by a notary (marriage contract, donation, real estate purchasing, …). All other legal acts may be notarized by a notary in order to increase the quality and safety of them (residential lease, will, articles of association, sale of securities, …).

Moreover, the notary must keep safe and make available to his clients the deeds he has signed over a 75 years period (100 years for deeds signed by minors).

The notary is compensated by his clients (not by taxpayers) according to a tariff set by law (identical for all notaries). 

For more information:  « Tariff and Discount rates ».