Most transactions involving real estate in Bulgaria require a notary at the location of the property. A notary may be used for a range of other dealings: to certify your signature on documents (for instance on contracts); to help you execute a Power of Attorney; to deposit a will for safe-keeping; to transfer a car or other vehicle, etc.
Bulgarian notaries are a regulated profession separate to Bulgarian solicitors (who are referred to as Bulgarian advocates), and Bulgarian notaries have a very specialised role. They function as trusted parties and repositories for certain types of formal business.
Notaries cannot also be members of the Bulgarian lawyer profession, and being highly-specialised cannot generally assist with preparing the documentation or advising on the transaction or legal business you may be planning even though they are uniquely placed to help you give it formal effect. We are in a position to help you with these.
We draft and finalise all types of notary deeds — e.g. for the transfer of real estate through sale and purchase contracts, through gifts, by inheritance, etc. We are also in a position to advise you when and how to use the notarial form of contract to your advantage. Because of our extensive experience and network of contacts among Bulgarian notaries, where more than one is available, we are able to liaise with them for you and ensure that you obtain the best service.
Sometimes, if a document is required to be presented in Bulgaria but was signed or otherwise prepared outside Bulgaria, the document would need to be:
(a) certified; and/or
Apostillisation is designed to replace the older procedure of legalisation, and is governed by an international convention (we refer to this as “the Apostille Convention”).
An even simpler procedure may apply where the document was prepared in one of a small number of countries enjoying agreements for special assistance in civil and judicial matters with Bulgaria: contact us to find out if your country of interest is one of these.
By far the most common situation involves documents which do require an apostille. Apostilled documents are immediately recognised in all other Apostille Convention states simply by having a special seal ('apostille') attached, and can be used (subject to a certified translation) in place of notarised documents. In property transactions, apostilles may be needed on Powers of Attorney and on several of the documents in the procedure for company registration (if a company is used).
We can help you obtain apostilles. In the UK, we are authorised by HM Government’s office for express apostille processing (members of the public can directly use only standard speed processing). This allows us to prepare an apostille for you and deliver the certified POA, etc, to Bulgaria within 48 hours of your instruction.
In other countries, we maintain relations locally to allow us to apostille your document for use in Bulgaria as fast as possible.
Equally, we can procure legalisations, certified and sworn translations of documents and certifications of documents produced or executed in Bulgaria for use in other countries. Contact us further for this.
Using a lawyer rather than a notary to prepare a notarial deed is wise for most property buyers or sellers. It commonly reduces legal costs by 0.5% of the purchase or sale price of the property.
Together with our thorough experience investigating property title and conducting Bulgarian legal due diligence, this creates a one-stop shop – we deal with both the formalities and the substantive protection of investors' interests. Given that Bulgaria still has a somewhat decentralised system for recording title, it helps to smooth the process that we maintain regular relations with the competent governmental authorities.
We certify documents from other jurisdictions for use in Bulgaria and vice versa. The ones most commonly used are: certification as true copies; for the authenticity of signatures on them; for use in legal proceedings; as witness statements; and as sworn statements and affidavits. We also prepare/help execute Powers of Attorney (POAs).
We offer procedural representation in Bulgaria to clients involved in international legal disputes in administrative, civil and penal matters.
© New Balkans Law Office 2020