What are the duties of a Notary Public and how can I choose the best one? Here are the answers to all your questions on the role of a Notary Public.

Who is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a Public Official with expert knowledge in legal-tax issues, an impartial figure whom to turn to in order to obtain the utmost protection, truthfulness and the legality of deeds and documents.

What are the duties of a Notary Public?

Notary Public, acting on behalf of the State, is responsible for ensuring the certainty of law, the legality of operations that clients intend to put in place and their actionability; these duties are carried out impartially, ensuring the fair and equitable balancing of the parties’ interests.

Who is a Notary Public chosen by?

A Notary Public is an independent figure who must ensure the interests of both parties: for this reason, the selection of a Notary Public should be shared by all the parties concerned. In actual practice, the Notary Public is usually chosen by the party who will bear the corresponding cost. Pursuant to art. 1475 of the Italian Civil Code, contract costs and ancillary costs (including notary’s costs) are to be borne by the buyer, except as otherwise agreed by the parties.

How is the cost of a notary's deed determined?

The cost of a notary’s deed is determined by the applicable taxes and charges, which the Notary Public collects on behalf of the State, and by the costs for the preliminary assessment of the deed and the Notary Public’s fees. The latter are based on the complexity of the deed and of any related activities, including the activities that precede and follow the signing of the deed. This cost can be estimated in advance only in general terms, since it must be calculated in detail based on the activities that are actually carried out for each single deed.

How can I ask a Notary Public to make an estimate?

In order to make an estimate, it is essential to have as much information as possible on the type of operation to put in place and on any necessary material. For this reason it is always crucial to arrange a preliminary meeting with a Notary Public.

Is a Notary Public accountable for the deeds s/he draws up?

Yes, s/he is. If a Notary Public draws up deeds containing provisions that are against the law, the Notary Public is suspended for up to six months and, in case of reiterated violations, the Notary Public is disbarred. Fines and disciplinary sanctions apply in case of other infringements. The documents drawn up by a Notary Public are inspected by the Ministry of Justice every two years.

What is the difference between a public deed and a certified private deed?

Notary’s deeds must be drawn up as public deeds, which is the form that most protects the parties and gives the greatest possible effectiveness to their representations in probative terms, giving them also the value of an executive title, both for any pecuniary obligations and any delivery and release obligations set out in the deed itself. According to case-law, a public deed is the type of deed that makes a Notary Public most responsible. Therefore, a certified private deed is used only in exceptional cases, at the parties’ request.