The notary office of the Consulate is authorised to receive and file acts and wills and to issue copies and extracts of the same.
The notary service is available to all Italian citizens living abroad permanently or temporarily.
The most frequently requested notary services in a Consular office are:
1. Power of Attorney
2. Will and Testament
3. Public Act
4. Certificate of Authentication
1. POWER OF ATTORNEY
Power or letter of attorney is a document authorizing one person to act on behalf of another person, to take the necessary measures to achieve a particular goal (e.g. sell, buy, manage, make a donation, accept a donation, set up or close a company, request the posting of marriage bans, etc.).
Power of Attorney is divided into two categories:
General Power of Attorney: with this document the person concerned entrusts the management of all of his/her present and future affairs to the attorney or agent. The General Power of Attorney is issued for an indeterminate time.
Special Power of Attorney: with this document the person concerned entrusts the attorney or agent with the management of part of his/her affairs. The Special Power of Attorney is valid only up to the conclusion of the specified affair.
2. WILL and TESTAMENT
Among the usual activities of a Notary Office in a Consulate is the drafting of documents concerning the Last Will and Testament of citizens living abroad.
The public testament is a declaration of the will of its maker made before an authorized notary official in the presence of two witnesses and written down on paper.
In a secret will and testament the functions of the Notary Office are limited to formally receiving the document (whose contents remain secret) in deposit.
Lastly, the holographic will does not need to be drafted by an official from the Notary Office and can be deposited anywhere and with anyone. It is usually deposited in a Notary Office to avoid possible loss and to ensure immediate publication upon the death of the will maker.
3. PUBLIC ACT
Legal acts (e.g. an act of donation) for which the law foresees a public act.
4. CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICATION
Certificates of Authentication are normally drafted by a Consulate official but can also be done by an official from the Notary Office, particularly in the following cases:
1. SIGNATURE AUTHENTICATION: a public official swears that a document originates with the person who signed it. In order to have a signature authenticated it is necessary to come in person to the Notary Office with a valid identity document and tax code number.
2. AUTHENTICATION OF A PHOTO: In order to have a photo authenticated it is necessary to come in person to the Notary Office with a valid identity document and three identical photos.
The term "self-certification" means, "sworn statement by the person concerned in place of a regular certificate" (art.2, Law 15/1968). This offers the citizen the possibility of supplying the same information present in the public registry but in a simpler and less costly manner.
The self-certification option is available to all Italian and European Union citizens.
The right to avail oneself of personal sworn declarations has also been extended to non-EU citizens legally staying in Italy, as far as can be verified or certified by Italian public authorities.
Self-certifications and personal sworn declarations can be used in dealings with the public administration and with those bodies authorised to provide public services.
They cannot, however, be used in dealings between private individuals, except if the latter agree to it, or officially before a judicial authority acting in its jurisdictional capacity.
OFFICIAL CERTIFICATES THAT CAN BE REPLACED BY SELF-CERTIFICATION
Self-certification can replace:
1. REGULAR CERTIFICATES
Self-certification can be used in verifying the following data:
date and place of birth;
enjoyment of political rights;
proof of being alive;
birth of a child;
death of a spouse, ancestor or descendant;
military service status;
enrolment in associations or lists required by the public administration;
state and university exams completed;
other recognised competencies/qualifications;
training course qualifications;
refresher course qualifications;
income or financial status provided for the purpose of obtaining benefits and advantages of whatever type foreseen by specific laws;
dispensation from specific tax obligations, with an indication of the amount;
tax code or VAT number;
any information contained in tax register;
pensioner status and category of pension;
status as legal representative of physical or legal persons, guardian, trustee and similar;
membership in social groups or associations of whatever type;
fulfilment or not of military obligations, including those in art. 77 of D.P.R. n. 237/64 as modified by art. 22 of law 958/86;
lack of criminal record;
status of dependency on someone;
all the information directly known by the person concerned which figure in the public register of births, marriages and deaths.
HOW TO MAKE A PERSONAL SWORN DECLARATION:
The declaration replacing normal certification can be written on ordinary non-letterhead stationery and signed on one’s own exclusive responsibility (it is not necessary to sign in front of an official), or a personal sworn declaration form can be filled out.
Moreover, it is possible to send documents, deeds and certificates via fax, post or computer to public administration offices.
Under the provisions of art.47 of Law Decree 445/2000, the parties concerned can make use of self-certification for all personal states, facts and qualifications that are not certifiable by a public administration through a self-drafted affidavit.
Moreover, the self-drafted affidavit can also concern other persons of which the person making the declaration has direct knowledge; it can also be used to witness the declaration of an act’sconformity with the original.
In a self-drafted affidavit the person concerned can declare personal states, facts and qualifications directly known before an official authorised to accept and file documentation, or before a notary, clerk, municipal secretary or any other official charged by the mayor.
When the public administration deems it necessary to check the validity of a declaration concerning states, facts and qualifications certifiable or ascertainable by another government office, it has 15 days from when declaration is made to request the necessary documentation.
Validity of self-certifications and affidavits:
Self-certification has the same validity as the document it replaces. Normally these certificates are valid for six months from the date on which they are issued, except when laws or regulations have allowed a longer period of validity. The validity of civil registry data is extendable if the person concerned declares that the data contained in the certificate have not been modified, and signs this declaration.
Unlimited in validity are affidavits and self-certificates attesting to personal states and facts not subject to modification (birth and death certificates, educational qualifications, etc.).
When self-certification cannot be used
Self-certification is never allowed for the following kids of certification:
of national origin;
Cases in which the public administration cannot require certification from citizens
In cases concerning certification of surname, name, place and date of birth, citizenship, civil status and residence, the public administration cannot require certification and an identity document is sufficient.
The registration of data takes place by means of the non-authenticated photocopy of the same document.
If the document is no longer valid, the person concerned must declare in the margins of the photocopy that the data contained in the photocopy have not changed since the date it was issued.
Sanctions for citizens who make false delcarations
If the public administration doubts the truth of the self-certification, it is obliged to make the necessary investigations.
Incorrect statements, falsified acts and use of false acts are punishable according to the penal code and laws concerning the matter.
Moreover, the person making the statement forfeits any benefits granted as a result of the provisions based on his/her untrue statements.
In all cases in which an identity document is required this may be substituted by an equivalent such as:
license for the operation of heating plants;
State employee’s ID card, on the condition that it has a photo and stamp or other equivalent signature.
An expired document can be used along with a statement that the data contained in it have not changed since it was originally issued.