Attorney in Costa Rica

Notary Public in Costa Rica

My name is Christopher Pirie.  I am a Notary Public in Costa Rica and can offer you various notary services. You should know that being an attorney is one thing, and a Notary Public is another.  Even though they can be the same person, they are hired for different legal services in Costa Rica. So, who do you hire?  Do you require an attorney or a notary public? It all depends on what you want to do.  If you need a notarized service, then a public notary will suffice.   However, you should hire both to create a corporation and buy a real estate property.  So, what is the difference between an attorney and a Notary Public?

Notarized services in Costa Rica
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What is the difference between an attorney and a notary public in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, every public notary is, first and foremost, an attorney. But the catch is that only some attorneys actually become a notary public. Allow me to explain. To become an attorney, one must attend law school and pass the Costa Rican bar association. Only when the person is a practicing attorney, does becoming a Notary Public is possible. Hence, we are all lawyers first and foremost, and later we can become a notary public.  

To give notary services as a notary public in Costa Rica, it’s first necessary to practice as an attorney for a minimum of two years. It’s also essential to have a master’s degree in Notary Law. Once the applicant fills in the requirements, the attorney achieves the status of Notary Public and may practice as such in Costa Rica.

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What notary services in Costa Rica does a Notary Public provide?

We provide a public legal service in Costa Rica. We are imbued with what's called “public faith.” In contrast to an attorney, the notary can't refuse a client for notarized transactions and acts. He must be impartial and act according to both parties’ will when constructing a public document, such as a purchase land agreement. A notary public is only necessary if a notarized public service is required. Usually, legal paperwork must be registered in the Public Registry. As part of the legal service, the notary will ensure that the public scripture signatures are the actual person's signature. He will ensure that the transaction is done according to what all the parties involved want, with impartiality. He must also register the public transaction in the Public Registry. On the other hand, any lawyer, is partial to your interests only.

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Can a corporate attorney offer notary services in Costa Rica?

A corporate attorney can provide notarized services in Costa Rica only if he is a notary public and acting in that capacity. Remember that lawyering and notarization are different things. A lawyer is usually hired to represent you in litigation. Still, it's a good idea to have a corporate lawyer by your side when a notary public is drafting the notarized paperwork to ensure everything has been done correctly. For example, your business attorney in Costa Rica will do the proper due diligence for the property you wish to buy. He will also revise the notarized paperwork done by the notary public for you.

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LEGAL SERVICES THAT ARE DONE BY THE NOTARY PUBLIC IN COSTA RICA:

Many transactions must be registered in the two significant registries in Costa Rica. Some acts are registered in the Civil Registry of Costa Rica, and others are registered in the Public Registry of Costa Rica. These transactions and acts are signed in a public “scripture,” or “escritura,” that is done in a unique book called “The Protocole” or “Protocolo.” These transactions are called “public transactions” and are done in a “public scripture” due to the public interest the law gives to these transactions and acts. Some examples of deeds and contracts that are part of any notary legal service are the following:

Company incorporations:

People often want to create a corporation in Costa Rica, such as an SA, an LLC, or limited liability corporation. The incorporation scripture is registered in the Public Registry, and the company is given an identification number.  A notary is also needed if you wish to change the incorporation articles.

Real estate purchases:

All real estate purchases must be made in a public scripture by a notary in Costa Rica. The deed is registered in the Public Registry, showing the property’s owner.

Car, boats, airplanes, and motorcycle purchases:

If you wish to purchase or sell a car, boat, airplane, or motorcycle, it’s necessary to have a notary public draft the deed. Then it must be registered in the Public Registry. As with real estate purchases in Costa Rica, the Registry will show who the new owner is.

Marriages and mutually consented divorces:

Due to public interest, a notary public is necessary to draft the marriage scripture and register it. A notary is also required for a mutually agreed divorce. These acts are recorded in the Costa Rican Civil Registry, which shows if the person is married or divorced: the “civil status.” It also indicates if the person has passed away. Click here to read about the grounds for divorce in Costa Rica.

Final Wills and testaments:

A notary gives this legal service as an Estate Attorney.  If you need to draft a will, you require an estate public notary. The best option is an open and public will, which must then be registered at the National Archives or “Archivo Nacional.” Hence, when a person dies, the last will can be obtained with a simple certification by the National Archives.

Powers of Attorney:

Some powers of attorney must be drafted and registered in the Public Registry. These are the ample power of attorneys, like the one given to the president of a corporation in Costa Rica. Or the ones issued by the grantor, to administer and sign any deed, contract, and transaction of the grantor. Another type of power of attorney that must be registered is the so-called General Judicial Power of Attorney. These are granted to an attorney representing the grantor in all judicial claims and procedures.

Mutually consented divorce in Costa Rica:

If your marriage is in litigation, you will need a divorce attorney in Costa Rica.  However, if things can be done amicably, and you plan a mutually consented divorce, then a notary public will be required to draft the paperwork.

Final Wills and testaments

This legal service is necessary to draft a last will. The best option is always to do an open and public previous will, Registered in the National Archives or “Archivo Nacional.” Hence, when a person dies, the last will can be obtained with a simple certification by the National Archives.

Powers of Attorney

Some powers of attorney must be drafted and registered in the Public Registry. These are the ample power of attorneys, like the one given to the president of a corporation in Costa Rica, or the ones issued by the grantor, to administer and sign any deed, contract, and transaction of the grantor. Another type of power of attorney that must be registered is the General Judicial Power of Attorney. These are granted to an attorney representing the grantor in all judicial claims and procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

An attorney is hired for a particular purpose regarding law consultation, litigation or arbitration in Costa Rica. He is the one “at your corner” in any business deal you may have. He is to represent you and devise the best legal strategies for what you wish to do in the country. However, not all attorneys can provide a notary service. Sometimes, you cannot choose the notary because the other party wishes to hire his own.  In such cases, it’s vital to have an independent attorney selected to be your eyes and ears, especially if the transactions can involve aspects of family law. This is a way to cover your bases. I am here to provide a notarized legal service in Costa Rica. I am a business lawyer and Notary Public in Costa Rica. Contact me if you have any questions.

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