Why resort to a Notary

The Law. The Notary is a public officer designated to receive deeds between living people (inter vivos, i.e. sales, exchanges, divisions, mortgage loans, company deeds, etc.) and for the time after death (mortis causa, i.e. testaments), bestow public trust on them, store them and release copies, certificates (i.e. summaries) and excerpts (i.e. partial copies) (art. 1 of the Italian Notarial Law).

The notarial deed. Deeds drafted by a Notary are public deeds, given that Notaries are authorised by the law of the Italian Republic to bestow them public trust; as such they have particular legal effect: what is attested by the Notary in a deed (e.g. that they have read it before the parties or that a person released or subscribed a statement before them) must be deemed as true by any Judge, unless a false statement is ascertained.

The role and responsibility. Besides merely authenticating the signatures of the parties – as is the case in other legal systems – the Notary is also bound to investigate their will and identify the legal instrument which best fits their aims. Moreover, the Notary is responsible for the compliance of the parties’ stipulations with the mandatory rules of law, so as to guarantee their validity and effectiveness. All of the above is to be carried out in a position of absolute impartiality with respect to the involved parties.

The fiscal responsibility. Finally, the Notary performs a fundamental function in the collection of taxes and tributes – indirect ones in particular – applicable to deeds that they receive or authenticate.  As to the latter, the Notary acts, by law, as tax officer: i.e. he is bound to pay taxes to the State in the same legal position as the parties who perform the operation by means of his office.

As of 29th August 2017, the Notary is also obligated to deposit all amounts due by the parties for taxes – and paid for each deed received or authenticated and subject to publication in land or business registers – in a special dedicated account, so as to avoid confusing of such amounts with the personal resources of the Notary himself.