Notarial competence : Introduction
Every life is characterised by certain events that require the services of a notary (e.g. a marriage contract, alteration of a premarital agreement, cohabitation contract, legacy, purchase or sale of property, a mortgage, the making of a will, an international or public testament, settlement of an inheritance, etc.).
Of course, the same applies to Belgians living abroad. Depending on the circumstances, they can turn either to the competent local authority to deal with procedures concerning property, family law, and so forth, or to our consular or diplomatic representative.
Belgian career diplomats legally exercise the notarial powers enshrined in Belgian law in those countries where they are accredited, within the limits of Article 5 of the law of 10 July 1931.
Career consuls and honorary consuls also have notarial powers which are attributed to them in advance by ministerial decree.
Provided that they do not stray beyond the powers contained in Article 15 setting out the principle of what constitutes a 'Belgian interest', Belgium's representatives abroad may draw up notarial acts in the same way as a notary in Belgium. In all cases they must have received a draft deed from a Belgian notary to do so (see also Notaribox).
They may refuse to act as a notary if a legal or de facto difficulty prevents them from so doing.
In some cases our representatives should even encourage the parties concerned preferably to have their notarial deed drawn up by the competent local authority if there is a possibility of that same authority disputing or rejecting a deed drawn up by our embassies and consulates for reasons to do with the respective national legislation.
What follows is a brief overview of the most frequent notarial acts which you may ask Belgian embassies and consulates to draw up for you.
For additional information we would refer you to the Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries.