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Aunthetic act as used in civil law refers to a writing signed before a notary public or other public officer. It can be a contract or other legal document which has been properly prepared or authenticated by a court officer, such as a notary, and thereafter given enhanced evidentiary status of its authenticity. The process usually requires the officer to ensure that the proposed document meets the legal requirements for the document at hand. For example, a will or marriage contract may have statutory requirements that are verified by the authenticating officer as part of the authenticating process. The authentic act is full proof of the agreement contained in it, against the contracting parties and their heirs or assigns, unless it be declared and proved to be a forgery.
In Louisiana, authentic act in relation to a contract, is that which has been executed before a notary public or other officer authorized to execute such functions, in presence of two witnesses, free, male, and aged at least fourteen years, or of three witnesses, if the party be blind. If the party does not know how to sign, the notary must cause him/her to affix his/her mark to the instrument. [Art. 2231 of Louisiana Civil Code]
A certified copy of a writing is also referred to as an authentic act.