The custody of instruments and wills

The reason of depositing documents with a notary is to facilitate providing evidence in the future if necessary, or ensuring rights and priorities. The notary draws up records upon the receipt of an instrument. The notary has to ascertain that the content of the instrument is in accord with what the depositor indicated, thus a deposit may not be handed over in a sealed envelope. The deposit of instruments may bear significance when evidence is presented, e.g. in the event of a dispute an author may be able to prove that a work under copyright was in fact written by him/her, thus he has priority over it. The notary may only release the instrument to the depositor, or to a third person – after certifying his/her identity - designated by such depositor. The depositor must specify the time when the notary is entitled to release the instrument, so the safekeeping cannot be for an indefinite duration. The same rules apply to the custody of promissory notes, bills of exchange and information data carriers.

A testator in order to have his/her will in a safe custody and to ensure its execution may only hand it over to a notary in person. Such safekeeping of a will may be made as in the form of a so called ‘open’ or ‘closed’ deposit. In the latter case, the client presents a sealed envelope to the notary stating that it contains his/her own will, but the notary cannot verify it. In case of an allographic will, that is which is not written by hand, it is sufficient if only the testator places his/her signature onto it without any witnesses pursuant to the Civil Code. The notary prepares a record on the receipt of the will, and stitches it to such will. The notary may only return the deposited will to the testator him/herself, and if he/she is deceased, shall send it to the notary in charge of conducting the probate proceeding.