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 ».
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.
In most instances, a French notaire request that his client obtain a certificat de coutume if the client was married in the United States or in certain other countries so that the notaire can probate a French estate and/or transfer title to French real property.
If requested, Attorney Polier will prepare the needed certificat de coutume.
Author: Jonathon Wise Polier
Avocat aux Barreaux de Paris et de New York
Attorney-at-Law (Paris & New)