The French Notaire

The are many misconceptions regarding French Notaires so it is prudent to understand what they are, who they act for, whose authority they act under and how they are paid.

A French Notaire is a legal expert (lawyer) covering all areas of the law, with a mission of public authority, who prepares authenticated contracts on behalf of his clients. Although a Notaire is vested with prerogatives of official authority, acting on behalf of the State, he is paid by his clients as one who is self employed, and not by the French taxpayer. The fees for their services are however based on rates fixed by the State.

A French Notaire is therefore a Public Officer appointed by the Minister of Justice, charged with acting on behalf of the state, not a Public Servant acting for and paid by the state. A Notaire operate in all areas of the law including family, inheritance, company law, countryside law, local authority, tax and of course property conveyance. Regarding the latter, a French Notaire has a role of public duty to prepare, carry out due process and authorise property conveyance and is the only person sanctioned to do so.

The Notaire’s fees

Notaire’s fees for conveyance work in France consist of many different costs and only a small percentage is actually the Notaire’s personal fee.

  • Taxes: approximately 80% of what you pay for property conveyance is taken by the state and local authorities in taxes. The Notaire is obliged to collect and pay the relevant recipients on behalf of their clients. The taxes vary according to the type of property.
  • Expenses: approximately 10% of the fees is used for expenses paying various parties for the cost of documents, searches, and any other one off expense.
  • Notaire’s fee: 10% is for the remuneration of the notarial services

The Notaire’s fees are broadly proportional to the cost of the real estate being purchased and as mentioned above, mainly consist of taxes of one sort or another. Their personal fee, first set by decree in March 1978, was last modified in February 2016. By having a fixed fee system the notarial cost is consistent regardless of which Notaire you use promoting one of France’s constitutional decrees – equality.

All monies that are deposited with a Notaire are placed in a séquestre account which are regularly inspected by a governing body. No interest is earned and monies are only paid out when all formalities are complete.

For more information on the Notaires of France, click on the link below.

Notaires de France