The role of a notary

It is important not to confuse the role of a notary with that of an independent solicitor, especially as notaries in Portugal perform some of the functions that a lawyer would in the UK.

Image

It is really important to understand the role of a notary when purchasing property in Portugal. Notaries are widely used in the Portuguese legal system and although they must have a law degree, and are trained in much the same way as private lawyers (avagodos), their role is to represent the truth and the state, rather than either party involved in a transaction. It is important not to confuse the role of a notary with that of an independent solicitor, especially as notaries in Portugal perform some of the functions that a lawyer would in the UK.

In Portugal, it is often necessary for documents to be signed in the presence of a state authorised notary for them to be legally binding. When purchasing a Portuguese property the signing of the initial promissory contract (contrato de promessa de compra e venda) takes place in the presence of a notary. A notary must also be involved at the point of completion when the final contract (escritura de compra e venda) is ready to be signed.

The notary is usually paid at this point in the process, at the same time as the final funds are transferred to the seller of the property and fees are typically around 2.5% of the property purchase price.

In Portugal it is possible to complete a property transaction without using an independent lawyer as well as a notary, but although this could represent a cost saving, it is a risky strategy, especially as there is likely to be some degree of language barrier involved. An independent lawyer can represent your interests specifically, and it is also possible to grant power of attorney to your lawyer so that you don’t have to be present in the country at every stage of the process. 

After you have completed on your property and embarked on your Portuguese adventure, you may well find you need the services of a notary again in the future. In Portugal, notaries are involved in everything from validating signatures and document translations to certifying passport photographs, so don’t be surprised if you end up frequently visiting the local notary office!


Further reading for Buying In Portugal

Image

Viewing Guide

Finding the right property can be a challenge. What do you need to think about early on?
Read more...

 

Image

Hidden Costs

The price of the property as listed is never the price that you will end up paying. There are a host of other costs.
Read more...

Image

Legal Matters

Buying a property in Portugal has very different legal requirements to the UK.
Read more...
 

Image

Currency Zone

Did you know that you could save thousands of pounds when emigrating by using a currency specialist?
Read more...


Image

When purchasing property legal hold-ups can be disastrous. You need to make extra sure that you have an English-speaking, impartial solicitor looking out for your best interests from the very start.

Find out more...


Latest news

Image

Big Decisions!

We’ve just concluded one of our “itchy feet” phases. To cut a long story short...

Read more...

Image

Schooling in Portugal

If you plan to move to Portugal with a family, thinking about schooling for your children should be a top priority.
Read more...

Image

Make ownership costs manageable

It’s not just the purchase that costs money, but once you’re a happy owner, you’ll need to cover on-going running costs too.

Read more...