What is a French notaire?

What is a French notaire?

What is a French notaire and when do you need to use one? ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

Notaires are legal specialists with a public authority assignment who draw up authenticated contracts on behalf of their clients and ensure that transactions are secure.

Notaires are vested with prerogatives of official authority which they receive from the State.

There are notaires throughout the country, in accordance with a zoning system worked out by the Minister of Justice to best serve the population. The notaire is therefore able to provide a local, accessible public service focused on legal matters.

Notaires as property specialists

This is a major area of the notaire’s work: negotiating property sales, signature of preliminary contracts, and signature of deeds of sale.

The State expects notaires to complete property documents, collect taxes (including capital gains tax on property sales) and contribute to the fight against money-laundering.

In France all property sales go through a notaire. As public officers they ensure the contract is performed correctly and, in addition to confidentiality, guarantee the necessary legal certainty.

They prepare the documents beforehand thereby preventing the majority of subsequent disputes. There are over one hundred legal and tax points to which notaires pay careful attention when drawing up the deed of sale.

Their considerable legal knowledge and awareness of any amendments to legislation, are the best legal guarantee when the preliminary contract is drawn up (before the deed of sale). You will not therefore have any unpleasant surprises.

Notaires also provide legal and tax advice on housing development, construction and renovation projects.

Furthermore, notaires have a very detailed property database, which all the French notaires update at their own initiative, and therefore have thorough knowledge of the market and prices.

Notaires as family law specialists

This is the area in which the notaires traditionally operate: marriage contracts, gifts between spouses, inter-vivos distribution, wills and inheritance. This is why the State imposes some obligations on notaires and consumer expectation is high.

Since the new EU Inheritance Regulation, applicable from August 17th 2015, British citizens can now choose between the inheritance law of residence if they do not make a will, and the law of their nationality if they do make a will. Under the new regulations, Britain is a third country, which complicates inheritance law, especially for a British person resident in France at the time of death.

Considering the tax implications and impacts on real estate held in France, British citizens should contact their notaire in France for the best advice on what to do about their succession.


Address: 60, boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg – 75007 PARIS

Phone: +33 (0)


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