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Volume XX, Issue 32

Facade of the Notaire's Office in Nice, France

Some really great improvements happened in the last couple of years, largely due to the needs of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ability to sign a deed remotely was one of them.

In years past, the Notaires drafted a power of attorney (“procuration” in French) in both English and French for our clients to sign. This gave both a representative of our agency and the Notaire the power to sign on behalf of the clients. At one time the documents were all on paper and that meant initialing or signing every page. It took a long time and by the end of the stack of papers, the hand doing all the signing was hurting…likely mine!

Meme for the role of the Notaire in France

Now, thanks to the needs of the pandemic, our buyers and sellers can remotely attend their own signings and sign on their own behalf. Here’s how it works:

The Notaire’s website is source of the following information:

The decree n° 2020-1422 dated November 20, 2020 established the remote notarized power of attorney. It prolonged the possibility for Notaires to draw up the notarial act through remote appearance for authentic powers of attorney. The Notaire can now establish the power of attorney via an electronic system that guarantees security and confidentiality when one or all of the parties cannot be present.

To sign the power of attorney online with your Notaire, you must have:

* a relatively recent and up-to-date desktop or laptop computer, Windows or MacOS, equipped with a webcam, microphone, and speakers;
* an up-to-date Internet browser, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge;
* a good speed internet connection as the videoconference session must be of good quality for the Notaire to receive your consent for the act;
* a personal email address to receive signature notifications sent by the Notaire;
* access to the electronic mail application that manages your personal email;
* a mobile phone to receive text messages;
* the scanned front/back color copy or the original of a valid identity document, identity card or passport

The videoconferencing system used will only be the one offered by your Notaire. It is a secure system approved by the profession in keeping with the decree. Using general public applications such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc. is strictly forbidden.

Adrian Leeds at her computer for videoconferencing

Schematically speaking, the procedure takes place in two phases:

Phase 1: Filing documents and checking identities

The documents and elements related to the case are exchanged and made available through a secure digital platform.

If you have not been physically received by the solicited Notaire in the past ten years, or if the copy of your identity document was not maintained on this occasion by the Notaire at the same time as your mobile number and your personal e-mail address, you will have to have your identity verified remotely through a certifying officer, then create a qualified electronic signature.

The service provider that delivers qualified electronic signatures in keeping with the level of security required by the decree, is DocuSign, authorized by the National Information Systems Security Agency (ANSSI). It relies, for identity verification, on IDnow. Your Notaire will send you the procedure to follow. Before signing your power of attorney, this identity verification procedure must always be carried out. To avoid any last-minute technical issues, it is preferable to do so the day before signing the power of attorney through a remote appearance with your Notaire.

If you have been physically received by the solicited Notaire during the last ten years, and if the copy of your identity was maintained on this occasion by the Notaire at the same time as your mobile number and your personal e-mail address, all you need is a two-sided scanned copy in color of your identity document or its original, your mobile phone and your personal e-mail address.

Phase 2: Signature of the authentic power of attorney with remote appearance

Your Notaire sends you an e-mail invitation to a videoconference session for the day of signing your power of attorney and you are asked to connect on this day with the Visio conference software given by your Notaire.

An uninterrupted video feed is established between you and your lawyer while the act is being read. This means you’ll be able to see, talk to and discuss with your lawyer live. The Notaire carries out all of the due diligence remotely under its responsibility.

At the end of reading the act, your personal email address and your mobile phone number are used by the Notaire to send you a link along with the document, which needs to be signed electronically by you. You confirm by entering a code received via SMS. Your Notaire then signs the authentic electronic power of attorney which shall allow you to sign the drawn-up act.

It’s all so technologically current and efficient! And there’s nothing better than the buyer and seller really participating fully in their transaction. Let’s hope it continues to simplify the process, even long after the pandemic is under control.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds standing on the canal in Venice CaliforniaAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. Considering a property purchase in France? Don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can. We can also expertly advise you how best to create a profitable rental. Contact us to learn more.

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