Russian Notary Duties

A Russian Notary has authority similar to a US notary, lawyer and a probate judge. Recent Changes in Russian laws makes the notary system in Russia more protective of individual rights. They play an expanding role in everyday Russian life. For example, notaries in Russia not only certify the authenticity of a signature, they also can hold money in escrow for several different purposes. The most common purpose is the sale of property.

There are many Notary duties. They include:

* Proving authenticity of wills and the passing of estates;

* accept checks in payment of delinquent accounts (although I expect this is rare as I will get to a little later);

* hold documents for storage;

* resolve marine disputes;

* take testimony for court proceedings;

* issue documents on inheritance;

* issue orders to confiscate materials;

* and arrange for apartment exchanges (sometimes the word "apartment" in Russia is what we would call a condo).

My wife and I had a notary prepare a letter allowing a friend to have authority to pick up our mail. We still maintain an "apartment" in Russia and this was required by the authorities.

Becoming a Russian Notary

Becoming a Russian Notary appears to me as somewhat a mystery. I suspect, and Russian I know agree, that it is some sort of political appointment.

Personal Experience in Russia

Having maintained a home in Russia for several years, I have found the Russian Notary System very valuable. They are easy to locate, relatively inexpensive and quick to get things done. They can be found at most major intersections or squares ("plochad" in Russian) and most major streets ("Ulitsa"). Usually, though, they are off of the main square or street in an office that is a little cheaper.

If you are in Russia and need a notary better have a translator. Not much is in English and it is unlikely that the notary will speak English.

If you need a US notary, the US Embassy or consulate will have one available for a nominal fee.

Word of advice, call the embassy first and make an appointment. My dealings with the US Consulate in St. Petersburg and Embassy in Moscow have been very good. They are professional and very friendly. But like all businesses, they would like a little"heads up" on their duties for the day.

I have thought often about writing more about travel to Russia. It really does not fit this web site, but it is very interesting subject.

Those who are thinking about traveling to Russia I believe would benefit from my experience (and I have a lot) in traveling there often over the last couple of years. At any rate, if you want more information, visit my "bonus chapter" on Russian travel.

Or feel free to Contact Me.

To leave Russian Notary and visit the Bonus Chaper on Russian Travels, click here.