© 2017 by Peter Mantell

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Notary Services - Individuals


Power of attorney

In a power of attorney, you appoint someone to sign documents and do things for you. A letter of authority is similar. Often you appoint foreign lawyers; sometimes family members. The person you appoint is called your attorney. A general power of attorney is where your attorney can do almost anything. A special (or limited) power of attorney is where your attorney can only do limited things, eg. Deal with the administration of the property of someone who has died, or buy/sell a particular property.

Witnessing documents / letters / forms​


Notaries witness all types of document, especially if they are going abroad. Here, witnessing, notarising, attesting, and certifying all mean more or less the same thing. Usually the documents are ready for you to sign. In forms, fill in all the information. Don’t leave any blanks. Don’t sign them until you see the notary.

Certified copy passport​


Notaries copy your passport, driving licence or other ID documents for use abroad.  Perhaps the lawyers abroad want to see that you are who you say you are. This is usually quick and straightforward. Foreign passports can also be certified. We make the copies. No need to bring any. You must personally bring in your original passport or other acceptable ID because:


   1. I need to see that you are a real person and that you are still alive!


   2. I need to check that you look like the person in the passport.


   3. I need to know that you want to have your passport copied.


   4. Your passport must be current, not expired. If you are a woman who has married since your passport was issued, bring in your marriage certificate as well. For children, we need to see the child and their birth certificate (which must show the names of at least the parent who brings in the passport). We also need the passport or other acceptable ID of at least one parent who must come with the child.

Certified copies of other documents​


Notaries can also copy and certify official documents, such as UK degree certificates, other educational certificates, bank statements, utility bills to prove address. You must bring in the original documents with your ID (even if I’m not copying your ID). Foreign documents can be done, but with a modified confirmation, as we will not be familiar with the institution concerned. Note that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the FCO) will only legalise UK certificates from institutions which are on their approved lists.

Property documents for abroad​


This is very common. You may be buying or selling a property in Jamaica, Spain, France, Italy or elsewhere abroad. Note that in many jurisdictions a justice of the peace or a Commissioner for Oaths is not a solicitor and only an English notary will be acceptable. Some countries want more than one of each document. Make sure you bring in the letter from your lawyer abroad.

Affidavits, statutory declarations​


These are common if you need to make a sworn statement to confirm facts. Sometimes, other documents are attached; eg. death certificates, letters, wills. These attachments are called exhibits. If your affidavit/declaration says that other documents are attached, you must bring them with you.

Certifying educational documents for working abroad​


If you are going to work abroad, you will usually have to show your prospective employers a notarially certified copy of your qualifications. In order to give the required confrimation the notary must check with the issuing institution  and I will take your written consent at our meeting. The notary will make a photocopy from the original and certify it as a true copy of the original. This is a notarised copy. Note that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will only legalise UK certificates from institutions which are on their approved lists. Check here

Getting married abroad. Certificate of no impediment​


If you are getting married abroad, you may need to sign a form or a declaration that you are legally free to marry. This is sometimes called a ‘certificate of no-impediment’.

Child travelling without both parents​


This situation needs special care. We need to be sure there is no plan to take children out of the country unlawfully. We need to see you with your documents of ID and a recent proof of address. We also need to see the child's full birth certificate, which must show the names of the mother at least. Bring the child's passport if they have one. Even if the mother has never been married to the father, he may have parental responsibility and rights. If the child was born in England & Wales after 1 December 2003 and the father is named on the birth certificate you must have his permission. Only exceptionally will this not apply. Any letter of authority you give should state the name and passport details of the children and the person travelling with them. You should have a separate authority for each child in case separate travel is necessary, eg. separate flights following flight delays or illness of one child, etc.

Foreign adoptions​


If you are adopting a child from abroad, you may need a notary to certify documents from the Department for Education (the DfE), formerly called the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the DCSF. Often the bundle of documents will require legalisation.

Opening foreign bank account​


You will almost certainly need notarised copies of your passport and proof of address to open a foreign bank account. There may be other forms to sign if you wish to add someone to your account. Parents often add their children to their accounts abroad to make it easier for the funds to pass to the children when the parents die.

Dealing with property abroad after a death​


You may be sent papers from foreign lawyers about the estate (property) of someone who has died. Sometimes they die abroad. Sometimes they merely have property abroad. I most often deal with Jamaica and the Caribbean but this could be for anywhere. If you cannot go abroad to deal with the matter, you might authorise a lawyer or relative to deal with it for you. If you deal with the estate yourself, you will be sent papers to sign. I can notarise them for you.

Legalisation of documents / Apostille / embassy stamps​


Legalisation is explained here:

Certifying  translations​


Normally, this is where the translator formally declares in front of the notary that the translation is true and correct. Clients may have a translation from an agency and need it notarised. This can be done if the translator goes to the notary. If not, the translation can still be notarised if another person familiar with both languages goes to the notary to make the declaration. It doesn’t have to be the same translator who did the translation.

Affidavit for India for OCI (Overseas Citizens of India)​


Affidavit for India for OCI (Overseas Citizens of India)

Often you have to sign an affidavit or declaration to explain why you don’t have an Indian passport now. This can be for a number of reasons. The most common are:


1. You lost it


2. You travelled to the UK on your parents' passport and never had one


3. You sent it to the Home Office when you applied for British nationality and never got it back.


Whatever the reason, I can witness (notarise) your affidavit. If necessary, I can also draft it for you.