In Mexico, every legal contract (wills, deeds, powers of attorney, trusts, etc.) must be made before a notary public (Notario Publico) in order to be valid.
A Notary in Mexico is Responsible for...
In respect to real estate, among other things, the Notario is legally responsible for formalization of the final real estate contract, collection of transfer and capital gains taxes and recording the transfer with the Public Registry. NOTE: If the document is not notarized by a Mexican notary public, it is not legal.
A Notary in Mexico is much different from a Notary in Canada and the United States. In Mexico, a Notario must practice as a lawyer (Abogado) for a minimum of five years before being allowed to practice as a Notario. A Notario is a public official appointed by the State Governor (he has a higher standing than an attorney/lawyer); he is a lawyer invested with the authority to attest documents. Notarios are governed by a special Notarial Law at local or state levels.
- A Notario is appointed by the government.
- There is one Notario appointed for every 30,000 people per populated area.
- Notarios handle ALL real estate transfers.
- By law, the Notario must check all public records to ensure that there are no problems with the transfer of the title; it must be free of liens, not Ejido land, the property must be safe to buy and the taxes must be paid.
- In addition to real estate transactions, a Notario also handles Wills, Incorporation of Companies, Power of Attorneys, plus many other documents.
- Documents issued before a Notario are public documents, and are documents, which, in the case of certain operations, can be recorded in Public Registers such as that of Property (real estate), or Commerce (corporations), as officially certified documents.
THE MEXICAN LAWYER
"Mexican lawyers are highly educated and many speak English. In Mexico, students enter law school after 11 years of formal education. Law school is 5 years, includes liberal arts related courses and is broader and more formal and theoretical in scope and focus than is law school in the U.S. After graduating from law school, the individual usually works for a firm or government agency as a clerk (pasante) until he or she presents an oral exam to become licensed (licenciado en derecho), after which he or she is addressed as licenciado or licenciada, abbreviated as "Lic." when written before the attorney's name. Mexican lawyers are licensed to practice throughout Mexico, not in individual states as in the U.S. There is no integrated bar or requirement to join a bar association. Some Mexican lawyers continue to study after becoming licensed and obtain their Masters in Law or Doctor of Law Degree. Like in the U.S. Mexican lawyers are slowly becoming more specialized as the volume and complexity of Mexican law grows."
THE MEXICAN NOTARY PUBLIC (Notario Publico)
"In Mexico, a "notary public" (Notario Publico) is much different than what is referred to as a notary public in the U.S. A Mexican notary public is, in fact, a lawyer who is also a public official appointed by a Mexican state (or Federal District), or by selection after a rigorous application process and examination. Such an appointed is considered a delegation of governmental authority for the certification or official recognition of certain acts and documents. Mexican notaries are also allowed to practice law in some states. Their public duties and authority include authenticating facts which become irrebuttable, unless the notary is proven to have committed fraud; conducting title searches (not unlike many of the functions performed by U.S. title companies); acting as public recorder, and examining wills and contracts as to proper form. The position of notary public in Mexico is much coveted, and one acquires it only after years of apprenticeship under the guidance of another notary public. People who do business in Mexico will undoubtedly come in contact with a Mexican notary public when they incorporate Mexican companies, record certain types of contracts, buy or sell land, authenticate power of attorney, or engage in other business."
Source: Courtesy of Law Offices of Jaime B. Berger Stender (from MEXonline.com)
During a Focus on Mexico Program you will learn from our Legal Expert all the ins and outs of the legal system and come to understand the differences between Direct Deed and Bank Trust. You’ll get all the information and be in a position to make an informed decision specific to your personal situation. You will also learn why you should avoid Ejido Land. You’ll get all the information to keep you out of trouble. You’ll discover the benefits under the NAFTA Agreement that provides protection when your purchase property in any of the NAFTA countries.