The main areas of intervention for the notary

Updated on Friday 17 February 2023

The ordinance dated November 2, 1945 defines the notary's mission as follows: "Notaries are public officials established to receive acts and contracts to which the parties must or wish to make the latter authentic, attached to the acts of public authority, and ensure the date, retain the deposit, issue Grosse and expeditions."


- Grosse: it is an enforceable copy, which means an authentic copy bearing the enforceable formula in the same form as the court judgements.

- Expedition: this is an authentic copy.

In addition to this legal mission of authentication and conservation of acts, the intervention of notaries is rather large: they are a generalist in terms of law with a global vision on legal issues.

It takes action in the entire legal and tax field, which makes it naturally competent for his function of advising clients.

Notary and family documents

This is the traditional sector of his activity: marriage contract, donation between spouses, donation-sharing, will, inheritance ...

As a result, the state imposes certain obligations on the latter, the consumer has particular expectations.

What the state expects from the notary:

- registration of wills

- authenticity for certain important acts

- preservation of documents for 75 years, 100 years when the act concerns a minor.

What the consumer expects from the law:

- that the authenticity produces its effects: probative force (origin, content and date), enforceability against third parties due to land registration and enforceability.

- be an impartial adviser in terms of family and personal matters

For more information, see the Couple and family section and the Donation and inheritance section.

Notary and real-estate

This is an important area of notarial activity: sale negotiation, signing of a preliminary contract, signing of the sale...

What the State expects from the notary:

- rigorous sending of its real estate file

- collection of taxes including on capital gains from real estate sales

- an effective participation in the battle against money laundering since the law n°98-546 of July 2, 1998 and especially the law n°2004-130 dated February 11, 2004 reforming the statute of certain judicial and legal professions and implementing the 2nd European directive in this area.

According to article L561-2 13 of the Monetary and Financial Code: notaries like lawyers ... are subject to the obligations to battle against money laundering under the conditions provided for in article L 561-3 of the so-called code.

On the other hand, notaries are required to declare to Tracfin: "amounts entered in their books or transactions relating to sums of which they are aware of, suspect or have good reason to believe that they come from a punishable offense, deriving from a loss of liberty exceeding one year or are related to the financing of terrorism."(Article L561-15 of the Monetary and Financial Code)

Notaries cannot oppose professional secrecy against Tracfin.

What the consumer expects from the law:

- certainty of the ownership of the property, through systematic research of its origin of ownership.

- for it to be "the single window in this area: the notary will be the almost sole point of contact in the field of sales.

- that the authenticity produces its effects: probative force (origin, content, and date), enforceability against third parties due to land registration and enforceability.

- legal certainty.