Range of services provided
The scope of work performed at a notary’s office covers a wide range of tasks. The design and composition of contracts is as much part of the services as are secure business transactions.
The thematic emphasis is on the following legal fields:
- Real estate law (transfer of properties and condominiums and heritable building rights, division of properties into condominiums, property development contracts, real servitudes, charges on real property)
- Inheritance law (drawing up and notarization of wills, contracts of inheritance, applications for certificate of inheritance, renunciations of inheritance, disclaimers of inheritance)
- Family law (marriage contracts, agreements on the consequences of divorce, health care proxies, declarations governed by the rights of the child, such as declarations of parental custody or acknowledgements of paternity)
- Company law (law of associations, establishment of corporations – GmbH’s [limited liability companies] and AG’s [incorporated companies] -, transfers of company shares, capital increases, changes of the corporate form, amendments of the company agreement, applications for registration in the commercial register, including for branch offices in Germany of companies set up in accordance with foreign law, e.g. a British limited company or limited partnership).
As stipulated by law, the notarization or public authentication is explicitly required for all afore-mentioned legal acts and declarations of intent for them to enter into effect, such as e.g. real estate contracts, agreements for the establishment of a corporation (GmbH and AG), or marriage and inheritance contracts as well as the waiver of the statutory inheritance share.
Although the notarization is not compulsory for wills, it is recommended for the sake of legal safeguards.
Depending on the design of the contract, rights contained in notarized documents can be declared as “immediately enforceable“. This means that these rights (e.g. entitlement for payment of the purchase price or right to have an apartment vacated) are subject to direct enforcement of the judgement without prior legal proceedings.
Real estate and real property law
The notary’s office of LSV performs all forms of real estate and real property transactions on behalf of its clients. We draft and notarize the purchase agreements, heritable building right contracts, condominium declarations and property development contracts. In this context, we document the creation and releases of land charges, easements and other encumbrances in rem and ensure the appropriate land register entries.
In the context of property succession, the notary of LSV prepares real property transfers, agreements on transfer of possession and gifts of real estate, in compliance with aspects governed by inheritance law. To secure the provision for old age, we develop corresponding solutions by creating usufruct and rights of habitation as well as by recording annuity charges.
In public real estate law, the notaries of LSV draft and execute property purchase and property sales agreements for communities with private and public institutions.
To prevent or avert a foreclosure sale, we organize, notarize and execute the sale of a real property or a plot of land in agreement with the creditors by private contract – using a notary trust account, if necessary.
With regard to family law, the precautionary creation of marriage contracts (e.g. agreement on the matrimonial property regime of separation of property, child support regulations), or, in the event of a planned divorce, the conclusion of agreements on the consequences of divorce, often helps avert disputes and reduce costs. The same applies to contracts governing common law unions and registered life partnerships. In these cases, the notary can act as a neutral advisor and mediate the dispute before the parties go to court. As an added benefit of concluding a marriage contract or an agreement on the consequences of divorce, the divorce will be “quick“ and “cost-efficient“, in contrast to relatively lengthy court proceedings that are necessary when the parties fail to reach an agreement.
In addition to such contracts governed by marriage law, the notary also handles notarizations with regard to the law of parent and child, e.g. for paternity acknowledgements, the adoption of minors and adults as well as the issuance of legal custody declarations.
Just as the registered life partnership, marriage establishes a family relationship and thus affects the order of inheritance. Therefore, it would be appropriate to already consider the consequences of the adopted regulations with regard to inheritance law when concluding a marriage contract. In many cases, concluding a marriage and inheritance contract is therefore a sensible decision.
We provide comprehensive counseling in connection with testamentary dispositions, that is, if you would like to create a will, a spousal trust or an inheritance contract, and draft legally binding solutions in line with your intentions.
In the same way, the notary’s office of LSV is your competent contact for complex arrangements (“corporate succession“) or special constellations (“spend-thrift trusts“, and “trusts to protect the rights of persons with disabilities“).
If no notarized will or inheritance contract is left behind, the heirs are required to apply for a certificate of inheritance from the probate court. In this case, we formulate the application for the certificate of inheritance, and establish your rank as heir in accordance with the statutory order of succession if no living will is available, or, based on the interpretation of one or several potentially contradicting hand-written and signed will(s). After obtaining your declaration in lieu of an oath, the application is submitted to the probate court. If this concerns an heir or a community of heirs with real estate assets, it is possible to apply for a notarized certificate of estate settlement from the probate court, in order to save costs.
If you are concerned that the estate is or might be over-indebted, the notary is here to help. We provide guidance about the possibility to renounce the inheritance, the deadlines and formalities that need to be observed as well as possible alternatives.
The notary’s office of LSV provides advice for anything related to company law: including the association law, the law of partnerships (GbR [partnership under civil law], OHG [general partnership] and KG [limited partnership]) and corporations (GmbH‘s, AG‘s).
With regard to association law, the notary takes care of the registration of the association in the register of associations as well as the notarization of other procedures that are subject to compulsory registration. However, he also already provides advice with the compilation of the articles of association, e.g. the attainment of the charitable status, prior to the establishment.
We counsel business founders in and outside the country regarding the applicable legal framework conditions in Germany. In so doing, we recommend the appropriate legal form of their company and explain the tax implications associated with the establishment of the company. The notary authenticates the establishment of the business and takes care of the registration in the commercial register.
Foreign businesses can establish branch offices in Germany. If they wish to register them in the German commercial register, a notary is required to oversee the necessary procedures.
Depending on the constellation, relocating a German company to another country may be a viable option. These considerations should also be discussed with a notary.
Private international law
Private international law stipulates which legal system (German or foreign) is applicable to certain facts of a case. We are hired predominantly to handle affairs related to family, inheritance and company law. Before the notarization e.g. of marriage and/or inheritance contracts between foreign nationals or between a foreign and a German national, the notary therefore in each case reviews the applicable law and the possible choice of law, comparing and evaluating the German and foreign legal system and counseling you on the available options.
Other functions of a notary
A judicially enforceable instrument comparable to a judgement can be established before a notary (e.g. a claim for payment of a certain amount of money in the form of an acknowledgement of debt), which can subsequently be used to enforce the judgement. If they reach a mutually acceptable agreement regarding the formalities of the payment, the involved parties can avoid the duration and costs and not least the stress associated with legal proceedings.
Furthermore, the notary is in charge of taking down declarations in lieu of an oath of any kind (loss of driver’s license, declaration of the capacity to marry, acknowledgement of paternity, applications for certificate of inheritance, etc.), but also for depositing money and valuables (e.g. safekeeping them in a notary trust account), of entering protests of a bill and of participating/conducting lottery draws (“under the supervision of a notary“).
There is a sweeping realization of the value of health care proxies and living wills among the population. Accordingly, the demand for legally binding declarations and formulations has increased. For this reason, these kinds of declarations should be notarized.