News and updates
Can’t travel but need to deal with matters overseas? How a notary can help.
In these trying times, one of the many issues that has arisen is the limited ability of people to move freely from country to country. This in turn makes it difficult for companies and individuals to manage their affairs in different countries as they cannot be there in person. Given the current indications it is probably going to be some time before things return to any form of ‘normality’. In the meantime, one solution to the current circumstances is to use documentation to authorise others based in the relevant country to act on yours or your company’s behalf. The typical form of this written authorisation is a power of attorney, but it can be done by other means such as a letter or other document depending on what authority is being delegated.
These ‘authority giving documents’ need to be thought through carefully as it is important to strike a balance between giving the receiver of the authorisation enough authority to do what is required but not too much so that it creates a potential for risk if the authority is mis-used in some way. We regularly guide clients in the preparation of such authority documents.
As notaries, we can also authenticate the documents once they are prepared by attesting the signature to the document and confirming that the signatory possessed the requisite authority to execute the document. Notarisation is needed in practically all cases where a document is going to be used and relied on abroad. The end-user recipient and the third parties they have to deal with want to know that the document has been legitimately signed by the person giving the authority and the attestation by the notary (an internationally respected and recognised public officer) achieves this.
Once notarised the document may also need some form of consular legalisation either from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (by means of an apostille) or at an Embassy in order for the document to be accepted overseas. This legalisation process essentially acts as confirmation to the third-party recipient that the work of the notary public has been acknowledged and accepted by the UK government and/or the relevant national embassy and that the notarised document can therefore be relied upon. Our office provides a comprehensive legalisation service which means that we can arrange for the documents to be legalised for use in any part of the world. Due to our relationships with consular businesses we are able to get documents turned around much faster than would otherwise be the case which can be very helpful for urgent matters.
Over the recent past, we have been contacted by numerous clients wanting help with dealing with their matters which have been left in limbo whilst they cannot travel overseas. This has included a lady who was trying to sell her property in South Africa and who had a tight deadline to get the paperwork notarised and back to the country so that the sale could proceed. Another client was in the process of divorcing her husband who lived in the USA and who had been frustrated by the shutdown which meant that her papers could not be notarised and served on her husband to get the divorce finalised. Another case involved a company client seeking to set up a new entity in Germany and wishing to appoint a director there with the power to act on its behalf. Our fast and highly effective service has helped these and other clients overcome these types of log jams and enabled them to proceed with their matters.
We appreciate that at this point with lots of people either unable or reluctant to travel away from their homes or offices holding a face to face meeting is likely to be challenging. We have therefore adopted measures which will make this process simpler and more convenient for our clients and which allows their documents to get from A to B even if they unfortunately currently cannot themselves do.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss your requirements please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07827 964013.
Traveling with children – do you need a travel consent form?
The desire to get away from it all at this time of year burns bright for many of us and it's important to be prepared. Any parents travelling overseas with their child but without the other parent may well need to obtain the written consent from the absent parent and have this process carried out before a notary public. This is often required by the country to which the child will be travelling before they will allow them to enter or leave. This should be done in good time before leaving the UK - our notarial team has experience of parents being in tears when a consent to travel has not been prepared (because neither parent was aware of the need for this) and consequently missing flights to family weddings and functions or being prevented from returning to the UK.
Recently, our notarial team has been asked to prepare and notarise consents to travel in the following circumstances:
- Where only one parent is travelling with their child; or
- Where neither parent is travelling with the child who is instead being accompanied by friends or other family members on a trip overseas.
In such circumstances, immigration authorities can become concerned if they believe that the child may be being taken somewhere without one or both parents’ knowledge and consent. They may therefore detain the travelling party at the airport pending clarification which can obviously be hugely frustrating and stressful for all concerned. We have on occasion been contacted to arrange an expedited consent to travel from an absent parent, who we then must see urgently and prepare the required documentation before sending it overseas. However, this process can take time particularly if, as required by some countries, the document needs to be consularised by the UK Embassy of the relevant country as well. We therefore recommend that parents check with the relevant Embassy before travelling to see if a consent to travel may be required. It is widely required in South Africa, Portugal, Thailand, Australia and Russia. However, with increasing concerns about issues such as child abduction and people trafficking following recent high-profile cases, it is likely that the countries expecting to see this type of documentation will expand moving forward. We are very much aware that often it can be difficult to get a definitive response to this question from an Embassy and if in doubt we would always recommend obtaining a consent to travel to avoid any ambiguity.
BEN2 Forms – Is your business setting up an office in Ireland?
I have seen several clients recently requiring help to set up businesses in Ireland. One of the main reasons for them coming to see me is the need to notarise a Form BEN2. This document is a declaration as to the verification of the identity of the person making the declaration. This person is usually the beneficial owner in an Irish company. If the beneficial owner does not have an Irish Personal Public Service Number (PPSN), they must apply for an RBO Transaction Number, by means of completing and signing a Form BEN2. The BEN2 contains the name, date of birth, nationality and address of the beneficial owner. The beneficial owner must solemnly declare this information to be correct and true and have this Declaration verified, witnessed and signed by a Notary Public. If you need to notarise a Form BEN2 or would like to discuss the notarial requirements for setting your business up in Ireland, then feel free to get in touch!
Introducing our German notarial specialism!
Anyone who has needed to get documents notarised for use in Germany will have noticed that the country has very specific requirements when it comes to the documents that they will or won’t accept. Fear not however as our international notarial team now includes fluency in German and we can now assist with translations and the preparation of documents in German. We also have great connections to local notaries and lawyers in Germany in case this is also required. We have recently been dealing with a variety of matters ranging from German corporate law (such as changes to the branch office address or the registration of directors) all the way through to inheritance law (requesting a certificate of inheritance from a German court). Get in touch today if this is something that we can help you with.