A digital proxy is now possible for notarial deeds in order to be able to pass all deeds: what does it mean for real estate and/or companies? Free of costs until the end of 2020!

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Lieven Peeters

Partner

Updated on Friday 10 Auguat 2020 -10am

On 4 May 2020 the law of 30 April 2020 holding various provisions on justice and notarial services in the context of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 was published in the Belgian State Gazette. This law is applicable as of publishing on 4 May 2020.

Before this legislative initiative FEDNOT, the Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries, had issued strict guidelines on how notary offices should deal with the current situation pursuant to the COVID-19 virus in addition to the general measures such as social distancing already in place. Only in cases of “extreme urgency” people were to pass in the notary’s office in order to execute a notarial deed. The notary needed to assess on a case-by-case basis whether a deed was extremely urgent (or the financial loss is considerable) or not. So there was always some doubt whether or not a deed would be considered as “urgent”.  Even when the criterium of “urgence” was no longer strict applicable videoconferencing and the use of proxies was encouraged.

These new legal provisions insert the “digital proxy” in the law on the notarial function, making it possible to pass a deed without your physical presence at any time at the notary’s office. Actually it does not matter where the principal/proxy-grantor is: at home, at work, in a nursing home or a hospital, or even abroad.

How does it work ? The notary identifies the principal/proxy-grantor during a videoconference via his/her electronic identity card (eID with PIN code) or the official app “itsme”. The principal (proxy-grantor) can thus give a digital power of attorney to a trustable person, for example to an employee of the notary who will pass the deed or to a confidant who can travel to the notary, by means of this videoconference set up by the notary. During the videoconference, the notary is to explain the power of attorney but also the draft of the notarial deed to be signed by the proxy holder. This digital proxy, which is electronically countersigned by the notary, will have  an “authentic power”.

If the law allows you to use a “private proxy” (i.e. non-authentic) for the execution of a notarial deed, such private proxy can be sent electronically to the notary’s office insofar as duly signed electronically.

No costs and fees will be charged for an authentic proxy executed and only to be used in the period as of 13 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 (extended by Royal Decree of 26 June 2020). Once all (represented) parties have signed the deed and the notary has registered the deed, the notary can send a copy of the deed to the parties.

The digital power of attorney thus allows notaries to remain fully operational while respecting the principle of social distancing. Notaries will thus soon be able to work almost as normal.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lieven Peeters or your regular ALTIUS contact.

The above information is merely intended as comment on relevant issues of Belgian law and is not intended as legal advice. Before taking action or relying on the comments and the information given, please seek specific advice on the matters that are of concern to you.

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