Coastal Legal Team has a number of Notaries in the office to assist in all of your notary needs. We have notary publics who are qualified by the State of Florida. In Florida, a notary public is a public officer appointed by the governor of the state to take acknowledgments, administer oaths, attest to photocopies of certain documents, solemnize marriage, protest the non-acceptance or non-payment of negotiable instruments, and perform other duties specified by law.
A notary may only perform a notarial act upon receipt of satisfactory proof of identity (i.e. a driver’s license or other form of identification card), or by the notary’s own personal knowledge of the person appearing before them, or upon the sworn statement of two witnesses who personally know the person whose signature is to be authenticated. A notary may not notarize their own signature, or the signature of their spouse, parent, or child.
CIVIL LAW NOTARY – Melissa E. Peat
What is a Civil Law Notary? Civil Law Notaries were created in Florida in 1997.
A Florida civil-law notary, also known as a Florida International Notary, is an officer appointed by the Department of State, rather than the governor, who holds the powers traditionally delegated to notaries in civil-law countries. Although under Florida law, civil-law notaries have all of the same powers and duties as notaries public, they also have much broader and less-regulated authority.
Civil-law notaries must be members of the Florida Bar (for at least 5 years) who practice international law. What makes civil-law notaries so different from regular notaries public is that they are responsible for the entire content of the document. Typically, the documents that civil-law notaries involve themselves in are contracts and other business transaction documents. Whereas a regular notary would simply add an acknowledgment to the end of the document, whereby the signers of the document acknowledge having signed the document willingly, a civil-law notary certifies the actual contents of the document. A civil-law notary can therefore make determinations as to alleged status or capacity. These determinations are found at the end of the document in what are referred to as “notarial acts”.
Documents authenticated by a civil-law notary are kept by the notary in what is called a “protocol”, which is similar to a notarial journal except that all original documents are kept. The civil-law notary therefore issues certified copies of the document which has the same fource and effect as the original. Original documents are kept by the civil-law notary as long as he holds such position, and upon that notary’s death or revocation of his commission, another civil-law notary must inherit the protocol with all of the original documents.
The concept of a civil-law notary is somewhat foreign in the State of Florida, which is a common-law state. The only state in the union which practices civil-law is Louisiana, whose notaries are similarly required to be trained in the drafting of documents and mediation between parties to a transaction. Civil-law notaries have general authority to certify an entire transaction as their personal knowledge.
A Florida Civil-Law Notary is empowered to:
Prepare Agreements and Documents as Authentic Acts
Administer Oaths and Acknowledgments on Legal Documents
Act as a Commissioner of Deeds
These powers can assist your international and foreign transaction in many ways.
A Florida Civil-Law Notary can bring an added level of precision, confidence and reliability to a legal document or transaction. Contact us to find out more about the services of a Florida Civil-Law Notary.
With the advent of jet travel, the internet and instantaneous worldwide communication, global transactions are now a common thing. A Florida Civil-Law Notary can facilitate such transactions in many ways, such as:
Powers of Attorney – Powers of Attorney are commonly used to complete business and banking transactions in foreign countries. A Florida Civil-Law Notary can supervise the execution of a Power of Attorney, and prepare an Authentic Act proving its valid execution.
Real Estate Deeds – A Florida Civil-Law Notary can oversee the execution of a Deed for Real Estate to be conveyed in a foreign jurisdiction, giving the parties far greater assurances than can be provided by a common law notary public.
Wills & Probate – A Florida resident may die owning property in a foreign country. The probate of their estate will be conducted in a Florida Circuit Court, but those court orders will need to be transmitted to the country where the property is located. A Florida Civil-Law Notary can facilitate this transfer by an Authentic Act which sets forth the identity, authority and jurisdiction of the Circuit Court issuing the probate orders.
Domestication of Judgments – A money judgment may be rendered by a Florida court (state or federal) against a foreign person or business. In order to collect, it then is necessary to domesticate that judgment by having it recognized in the foreign country where the judgment-debtor has assets or property. A Florida Civil-
Law Notary can prepare an authentic act setting forth the entry of the judgment, the jurisdiction of the issuing-court and the identity and authority of the clerk that has certified the copy of the judgment.
Identity of Pension & Reparation Claimants – Many Florida residents receive monthly benefits from foreign governments. A common example are Holocaust survivors who receive pension checks from Germany. In order to administer these claims and avoid overpayments, the foreign government requires the execution of an annual life certificate, to confirm that the pensioner is still living and entitled to continue to receive benefits. A Florida Civil-Law Notary provides a more reliable authority for the ongoing payment of thousands of dollars of benefits than a common law notary public.
Corporate Transactions – Florida residents and businesses often participate as owners and officers of foreign entities. This requires them to execute corporate resolutions and other transaction documents. A Florida Civil-Law Notary can prepare these documents as Authentic Acts, giving them a familiarity and reliability for use and acceptance in civil law countries.
Expert Testimony – As a trained professional in the operation of civil law legal systems, a Florida Civil-Law Notary can offer expert testimony to a Florida court concerning the operation and legal effect of documents and events from a civil law country. This can be critical to explain important legal issues to judges, arbitrators and even jurors who are unfamiliar with the differences between U.S. common law, and the civil law traditions followed in many foreign countries.
Proof of Private Records – A Florida Civil-Law Notary can provide an Authentic Act in order to certify the existence and authenticity of various private records such as employment histories, school transcripts, financial statements and insurance certificates, which are needed for transactions in civil law jurisdictions.
Marriage Ceremonies – A Florida Civil-Law Notary can perform weddings within the State of Florida, and upon the High Seas.
World Records – Florida Civil-Law Notaries can even supervise and attest to the completion of an act or event in a format that is accepted by Guinness World Records.
Legal Authority – Seal of Florida
The office of Florida Civil-Law Notary is authorized by Florida Statutes Chapter 118 and regulated by the Florida Department of State by Rules promulgated in the Florida Administrative Code. Originally enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1997 as the office of “Florida International Notary”, the name was changed to Florida
Civil-Law Notary in 1999 to reflect the parallel functions of a Florida Civil-Law Notary to those of a traditional Notary in a civil law jurisdiction.
Florida Civil-Law Notaries are members of the National Association of Civil Law Notaries, a non-profit professional organization that promotes the education and development of Civil-Law Notaries. For more information, visit the National Association of Civil Law Notaries (NACLN) at www.nacln.org.
Formed in 1948, the International Union of Notaries is the global organization to promote, UINL Logocoordinate and develop the function and activities of Latin Notaries throughout the world.
All Florida Civil-Law Notaries are Attorneys and members in good standing of the Florida Bar. As Members of the Florida Bar, Civil-Law Notaries are bound by all of the Ethical Obligations of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.