What is a Louisiana Civil Law Notary?
LA can be an oddball state! If you’ve ever taken a walking tour of the New Orleans French Quarter, somewhere between stories of Marie Laveau and The LaLaurie Mansion, you were probably told of how Louisiana’s system of law is still based heavily on old Napoleonic Code! While other state systems are based on Common Law, which is precedent based, Louisiana’s is a Civil Law system, similar to what you might find in many Latin American countries.
Because of this difference, the Louisiana Civil Law Notary has broader powers than the Notary Public as it exists in other states. Not just an officiator, taking oaths and verifying identities, an LA Notary also drafts and mediates. Last will & testaments, marriage contracts, powers of attorney (limited or broad), personal declarations, estate inventories, incorporations, mortgages, and small successions, wether they are unilateral acts or contracts, private agreements or authentic acts to register with the Clerk of Court, these all are within the scope documents an LA Notary can author and pass.
While many notaries tend to specialize in one particular field or industry, the state rigorously tests broadly on the basics of LA Civil Code and critical interpretations of various legal scenarios. The tests are conducted and scored by LSU’s school of law. The entire process is overseen by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
Notaries can’t give legal advice! For legal advice see a lawyer! In fact, if you have any uncertainty regarding the legality of a transaction, see a lawyer. A Notary can write a basic Will. But if, for example, you need to create a complex trust within the scope of that Will…see a lawyer. This can’t be overstated.