A French notary’s duties and powers should not be confused with the limited powers of an American notary. The French notary (“le notaire ») has a legal monopoly to effect the transfers of French real property and to probate estates in France. They are trained in the law in such areas and also know the French tax law relating to such fields of specialization.
A French notaire may at times ask his American client to obtain a « certificat de coutume » from an attorney admitted to the practice of the law in the United States.A certificat de coutume is what Americans call a « legal opinion ».
If requested, Attorney Polier will prepare the needed certificat de coutume.
In most instances, a French notaire request that his client obtain a certificat de coutume inorder to:
- transfer title to French real property, often in the event of a divorce, or
- probate a French estate. or
- confirm the authority of an officer of an American company to purchase French real property.
Author: Jonathon Wise Polier
Avocat aux Barreaux de Paris et de New York
Attorney-at-Law (Paris & New)