We receive many calls requesting the notarization of wills, living wills, general and specific power of attorneys, prenuptial agreements and other like agreements and documents in Korea. These documents are, often, just pulled from the internet.
We, sometimes, notarize these agreements for clients, however, in most cases we refer the client to their local embassy in Seoul, since the embassy stamp has a far less chance of not being recognized in the foreign jurisdiction than a Korean notarial stamp and, also, advise a redraft of the document.
This post was not written to tell you not to call me about notarial issues (actually don’t contact me about notarial issues unless your nation does not have an embassy in Korea- contact your embassy), but to be aware that many of the agreements and documents that I have seen that were downloaded from online form libraries and blogs are worthless in Korea, Canada and many U.S. states.
In matters that are important for you and your family’s life and livelihood, please spend a few bucks and have a professional draft these documents. The professional should know about the recognition of these documents in Korea and, also, abroad. Don’t simply rely on the internet and luck. Your family is more important than saving a few bucks.
This post was motivated by a prenuptial agreement that I just reviewed that was, obviously, downloaded from an online form library and that would have been invalidated by most U.S. courts if executed in its form. Writing this post reminds me of a case we handled, a few years back, concerning a will that was contested, since the will did not meet the execution formalities.
Sean Hayes is chair of the Korea Practice Group at IPG Legal. Sean, formerly, worked for the Constitutional Court of Korea and for a Korean college of law. He may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com
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