OBLIGATION TO LEVY FEES
In accordance with Section 17 Para. 1 Clause 1 of the German Federal Notarial Code, notaries public are obliged to levy fees and expenses for their work that are laid down in the Court and Notary Expenses Act (GNotKG), not more and not less. Any type of fee arrangement is prohibited. The costs for notarizations and certifications are regulated by law in Germany and are therefore the same for all notaries public.
Periodic business audits by the president of the state court or the notary’s office also cover the proper levying of fees and enforcement of costs.
SOCIAL FEE SYSTEM
The fee system of the Court and Notary Expenses Act (GNotKG) is carefully calibrated. This also means that notaries public also perform many official functions for fees that do not cover the costs. This ensures that everyone can take advantage of notarial advice and contractual arrangements regardless of their assets or the value of the transaction. This is intended to ensure that everyone has access to notarial official functions.
Notarial cost law has another advantage for you as a citizen: The advice, including the drafting function, is included in the notarization fee regardless of the difficulty, the expense or the number of meetings.
Calculation of notary costs
The level of notary costs is exclusively based on the importance and value of the transaction and not the amount of work for the notary public. Germany’s standardized Court and Notary Expenses Act (GNotKG) provides a certain fee rate for every official function undertaken by notaries public. Starting with the respective fee rate, the actual fee is calculated based on the transaction value using the scale of fees. The notarization fee thereby covers the comprehensive advisory services provided by the notary public, the preparation of a draft and the notarization in the literal sense.
For unilateral declarations, the full fee must be charged (10/10), for contracts and rulings the double fee is to be applied (20/10). For the advisory and execution functions of a notary public, the fee rate is often 5/10. However, if the execution function of a notary public is limited, for example, obtaining of the right-of-first-refusal certificate in accordance with Section 28 Para. 1 of Germany’s Building Code, the fee is a maximum of € 50.00.
The GNotKG specifies how the transaction value is to be determined for the calculation of fees. For instance, in the case of a purchase agreement this is commonly the purchase price. For general powers of attorney it is often the total assets of the principal and for testaments it is based on the net assets of the testator, whereby debts can only be deducted up to a maximum of 50% of the assets.
The level of the notarial feel can be calculated with a Fee calculation spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel™ created by the Federal Council of Notaries. The fee calculators can also be downloaded from this web page. We do not assume any liability for the accuracy of the calculator.
The periodic business audits conducted by the president of the state court or the auditing department of the notary’s office also checks that the matter of costs has been approached correctly. In the event of irregularities, the notary public is obliged to refund or claim fees subsequently.
Sample calculations: Good advice doesn’t have to be expensive
Notarial deeds often have tangible cost advantages: For instance, a notarized testament can generally replace the certificate of inheritance otherwise required. The certificate of inheritance, however, ultimately costs almost twice as much as the advisory, drafting, and notarizing services provided for a testament by the notary public. As such, notaries public do just give professional advice with regard to the appointment of heirs, legacies and instructions on the apportioning of an estate; instead they also prepare an official document with particular probative force that covers these subjects. This ensures that your last will and testament will not disappear and will be found in the event of death.
There are specific sample calculations for notary costs on the website of the Federal Council of Notaries. Please note that in individual cases different expenses can arise. The sample calculations listed there merely cover typical, albeit carefully calculated scenarios. As a result, no claims can be raised with respect to individual notaries or the Federal Council of Notaries based on any inadvertent errors in the sample calculations.