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26 Oct

Difference Between a Lawyer and a Notary


Posted by: Michael Hallett

Most real estate deals are fairly straightforward and both a lawyer and notary will prepare the documents for you. If you are buying a home, they will: conduct a title search, obtain tax information and any additional info to prepare a Statement of Adjustments. Then they will prepare closing documents, including a title transfer, mortgage, property transfer tax forms and forward them to the seller’s lawyer or notary for execution.

After you sign your papers, the lawyer or notary will register the transfer and mortgage documents and transfer funds to the seller’s lawyer or notary. Sometimes, people may have more complicated transactions, so you will have to decide for yourself what your situation is. If something goes wrong with your transaction, a notary cannot represent you in court, like a lawyer can. Notaries also cannot represent you in any kind of disputes.

Notary also cannot advise you on legal matter, for example, if you go to a notary to convey a real estate deal, and you ask questions like “I think my neighbour’s fence is on my land, what should I do?”, the notary cannot give you advice on what your recourse is.

In terms of fees, they are not that different these days. You won’t find a big difference in price for their services.

If you are unsure of which one to use, it’s always a good idea to phone a notary and a lawyer to describe the services you need and then decide from there.