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|Notary Publics in Chile|
|Chile Legalization and Notarization of Documents|
Notaries importantly keep a public record of various transactions such as contracts for transfers or purchases of property, business contracts, and just about any other type of document that you might need to sign. Essentially, if you want to enforce a contract at some point in court, it is best to have it notarized or converted into a public deed at a Notary. There are many contracts that Chilean law requires to be registered in the form of a public deed, such as in the case of contracts related to property purchases in Chile.
With such an important role in the Chilean system, notaries are monitored closely. Notaries in Chile can and do loose their license and franchises if they are found to be engaging in corrupt practices, are failing to maintain proper documentation and records, or fail to execute any of their other duties. Notaries in Chile are directly supervised by the Chilean Supreme court. To qualify as a notary, among many other things credit history and criminal records must be in good standing. Also, to be a Notary in Chile a person must have completed Law School and be a licensed Attorney in Chile.
Be aware that "notarized" could be two different things, either your signature is notarized on a document (under Chilean law that type of document is referred to as "private document") or the actual draft given by the parties is converted into a public deed. That is, the original document is recorded as a a public record ("public documents" under Chilean Law).
If you do not speak Spanish one of the Chilean notary's most important duties is to insure that you understand what you are signing. This is true of such situations for example as when an indigenousness Mapuche tribe is signing a legal document, but does not speak Spanish. It is also true of foreigners seeking to sign important documents. It is also one of the reasons is is important for foreigners to have a bilingual attorney and translations of documents available in their native language when signing documents in Chile. A notary is obligated to refuse to allow the document to be signed, if he or she does not believe the parties signing the document fully understand what they are signing.
Not every notary in Chile will be so careful about this, but they do get in trouble if they are found not to be checking that the people signing contracts understand. Careful notaries will go through every major point of the contract and ask you if you agree and understand, in Spanish. They also will go through and carefully verify all the identifying data and facts are correct. For example, your RUT or passport number, address, and other critical information in the contract.
Any parties signing a document in Chile, say for the purchase of real estate, must both sign at the same notary because that document must become a public record of that notary office. You can not sign a contract as the buyer at one Chilean notary, and then mail it to a seller and have them sign at another Chilean notary. This is why we have picked the power of attorney as our example document that is most commonly signed outside the country, because someone must sign on your behalf at the same notary public to validate the contract in Chile.