In our next video, we’ll cover a topic in about 5 minutes that a lot of people will confuse.
Here are the differences between a public document, a private document, a private document with full probative value !
In everyday life, for sure, you have run into debates about whether or not two witnesses need to sign a document, what a regular power of attorney should look like, what it means to be a public document, and so on. This is one area of law where you can typically encounter a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions! First, let’s clarify the basic concepts!
- Simple private document : A simple private document is typically a contract between two people, and here, of course, I mean the written contract. It is no accident that I use the term person, as the contracting party can be an individual and a legal entity, i.e. also a company. Of the documents, a simple private document is the weakest, and the law requires a stronger document form in some cases.
- A private document with full probative value . A private document with full probative value is stronger than a simple private document. The most common type is when a simple private document, e.g. you countersign a contract with two witnesses.
- Should the two witnesses be present at the signing? Not necessarily! Many live in the misconception that if the two witnesses are not actually present when the deed is signed, but you subsequently testify of the contract, it is invalid; moreover, forgery. Fortunately, this is not the case! Under the rules of civil law, it is also acceptable to show a previously signed document to two witnesses and admit before them that the signature on the paper is indeed yours. So the document that was subsequently witnessed is equally valid, since you admitted to yourself as witnesses that you yourself signed the document orally.
- Do I absolutely need two witnesses for a private document with full probative value? No! Although the document countersigned by the two witnesses is the most common form, there are other options available to you. Unfortunately, the current life situation is that you can’t get two witnesses due to the threat of an epidemic, and strangers and neighbors are reluctant to hold the pen. There is no better example of this than that a will written by hand and with a pen is valid under the law of succession! Yet in the case of a will, the fate of great fortunes is at stake, yet two witnesses are not absolutely necessary. The other case where two attorneys are not required is if you have your own company or have the right to sign in the company according to the company statement. In this case, if you sign the company document in the same way as in the copy of the signature, it is also considered a private document with full probative value, no witnesses are required. Another way to get a private document with full probative value is to countersign the document with a lawyer.
- Notarial deed . An authentic instrument is the strongest form of documents. An identity document is an identity card, diploma, language examination certificate, court judgment, official decision or a document included in a notarial deed. For us now, the latter case is interesting: so if you take a contract, a unilateral statement, a will, or any other document to the notary and he or she certifies that you signed the paper in his or her presence, the deed is from there on. Here it is very important to dispel a common misconception: although it is cheaper and faster to turn to a lawyer to certify an extremely important document, with a lawyer’s countersignature you only get a private document with full probative value. So you can only access the notarial form from a notary public!
- Where is what kind of document is needed? If you have any doubts, always ask them what form of document they expect from you, otherwise you will not go anywhere with the document you are using! As a rule of thumb, one of the most common documents, a power of attorney, requires a form of private document with full probative value. It is important to note here that the power of attorney does not need to be signed by the proxy, but unfortunately many times the administrators do not know this well, so if possible, it is worth putting the phrase “I accept the power of attorney” at the end of the power of attorney and signing this clause. also with the proxy. Consider another area of law: a valid will requires a private document of full probative value from the outset, but, for example, if the testator is still a minor, only a will made in the authentic instrument, ie before a notary, will be valid.
- Criminal law aspects. Forgery of documents is a criminal offense, and it does not matter whether you falsify a private or public document. Counterfeiting of private documents, on the other hand, is a less serious offense that can be swept away without serious consequences. Not only can you commit a crime by physically altering a public document, forging a signature, but also by, say, misleading the authority to prove false information or facts to you. So, for example, if you mislead the clerk in the document office and issue a certificate with untrue content to you, you are committing the crime of forgery.
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