Common Notary Services You May Need In Brazil

Common Notary Services You May Need In Brazil

When living in Brazil, a common day to day necessity any person may have is going to a public notary, known in Portuguese as “Cartório”. This is because of our legal system, which requires certain acts and documents to be legalized in order to be recognized as valid in the country.

Public notaries in Brazil act as the appointed authorities by the government with the responsibility of formalizing agreements between two or more parties and intervening in legal acts and business in which the parties want to delineate terms. Notaries also have the responsibility of issuing legal certificates of various natures, depending of the person’s need, as well as authenticating documents copies and notarizing signatures for posterior use.

Below are 5 common services you may need from a public notary in Brazil:


1. Signature Authentication or Notarization.

If you sign any contracts in Brazil, especially with banks or when buying vehicles or real estate, you certainly will be requested to notarize your signature in order to complete the business.

The reason is because companies and public authorities adopt very strict rules against possible frauds, and having a notarized signature gives the assurance that the document was actually signed by the person who they are dealing with.

The signature recognition procedure, known in Portuguese as “Reconhecimento de Firma”, involves the registration of a person’s signature before a notary called “Cartório de Notas”, who will verify the person’s personal information and ID, and collect 3 versions of his/her signature.

After the signature’s registration is done, the notary will be able to notarize the person’s signature on any document it may be contained. If the signature on the document matches the registered signature, the notary will produce an official stamp next to the signature, attesting to its validity and granting legal efficacy to the interested party.


2. Document Authentication.

Speaking of a scenario in which you need to sign a contract or form before a company or government authority, you may also be requested to provide documents to serve as attachments to the signed document.

For example, you sign a bank contract and the manager asks for your notarized signature and an “authenticated” copy of your ID. The reasoning here is the same as the signature notarization procedure: To prevent frauds, the copy needs to be exactly the same as the original, and it is the notary’s responsibility to make this assertion.

Thus, the document authentication procedure, which in Portuguese means “Autenticação de Cópia”, involves the act in which a notary official compares the original document with its copy, verifying every detail in order to look for potential frauds.

After the comparison is concluded, the notary official will issue a stamp attesting to its exactness, and the document copy will acquire legal validity.


3. Issuing a Power of Attorney.

A foreigner can easily issue a valid Power of Attorney in Brazil for most purposes with a simple document containing the following content as detailed as possible: Grantor, Grantee and Granted Powers.

After the document is produced, the Power of Attorney needs just to be signed. This kind of Power of Attorney is classified in Brazil as “private”, or “Procuração Particular” since the person responsible for producing the document it is not a public authority. If there is the need (according to whom will work with the POA), the signature can be notarized, according to the procedure above.

There are situations however in which the government authorities and Brazilian law itself may request a more formal and secure Power of Attorney, which needs to be fully produced by a notary official. This is the “public” Power of Attorney, or “Procuração Pública”. Real Estate and Marriage are examples of situations in which the Brazilian law requires the use of a Public Power of Attorney.

The Public Power of Attorney is made entirely by the notary official, who will verify all the details and information to be included on the document, and after the terms are settled the instrument will be printed on a official notary paper, followed by the signatures of the Grantor and the notary official, who will also place stamps to attest the validity of the document. An official copy of the document will also be permanently registered and stored at the notary records for further consultation.


4. Issuing of Legal Certificates.

There are a multitude of reasons for a person to need a legal certificate in Brazil, commonly named as “Certidão”. Legal certificates have many purposes in Brazil, to name a few: Death Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate, Real Estate Property Certificate, Adoption Certificate, Emancipation Certificate and many others.

The law and government authorities will specify which legal certificate is needed for what, as well as the specific notary which can produce it. Despite the difference in purpose, all legal certificates contain statements of facts, which are only made valid after the evaluation by a notary official, who will then produce the document according to its findings.


5. Marriage Certificates.

Notaries are also responsible for conducting and  registering marriages in Brazil.

The parties interested in legally marrying in Brazil have to contact the closest Notary Public Office of Individuals Registration, or “Cartório de Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais”, and begin a procedure where they will have to provide documents and proof of their relationship and intention to marry. Witnesses are also necessary to attest the validity of the act.

In case the married parties divorce, be it by judicial or notary procedures – depending if the divorce is amicable or not – the separation will also be registered on the original marriage certificate stored at the notary records, legally and formally recognizing the spouses as divorced.

All services listed above have a cost which varies from state to state in Brazil. They are also updated yearly by the Brazilian State Courts. All acts performed by notaries are heavily inspected by the government’s Internal Correction Agencies.

There are other services Cartorios would provide in Brazil. A Cartorio de Títulos e Documentos, (or Notarial Offices for Titles and Documents) for instance can make documents of any kind to be made public. This serves to protect rights against unknown third parties. This notary can also subpoena or notify people, by request of others, so that the notifying party later is able to prove that the subpoenaed party was notified (of something).

Checks and promissory notes can be “protested” at a Cartorio de Protestos, a notarial office that will centralize the registration of companies or individuals not paying their commercial agreements.

The Real Estate public Registrar or Cartório de Registro de Imóveis or Cartorio de Registro Imobiliário is supposed to have the whole history of a ownership of a property, and its title is the ultimate property certificate.

If you have any questions or need assistance with any kind of notary procedure, please contact us at, we would be glad to help.

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