Can the Seller Give Power of Attorney at the Closing?

By Anna Assad

A real estate seller may give another person power of attorney before or during the deal's closing. The power of attorney document allows the person, known as the agent, to act for the seller during the sale. The agent signs papers for the sale, such as the deed, in place of the seller. While a seller giving a power of attorney for a closing isn't unusual, there are some matters to consider.

A real estate seller may give another person power of attorney before or during the deal's closing. The power of attorney document allows the person, known as the agent, to act for the seller during the sale. The agent signs papers for the sale, such as the deed, in place of the seller. While a seller giving a power of attorney for a closing isn't unusual, there are some matters to consider.

Closing

A seller may give another person a power of attorney for the closing. The seller and agent sign the power of attorney in front of a notary public and file it in the county land records. Filing the power of attorney in the county land records serves as evidence of the agent's legal right to sign for the seller. The seller may have the power of attorney prepared and notarized beforehand so she doesn't have to come to the closing; the agent attends the closing for her and brings the original power of attorney. The original power of attorney is still filed in the county land records, often at the same time as the other documents from the sale, such as the new deed.

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Limits

A seller may give another person power of attorney to sign real estate documents and perform banking transactions in general. However, she might also choose to allow the agent to handle documents and banking for a specific property sale only. If the seller wants to restrict her agent's powers to one deal only, she must include this limit on the power of attorney. For example, she might add, "Only for the sale of [property address]" after the section giving the agent authority to sign real estate documents on the original power of attorney.

Considerations

An improperly made or incomplete power of attorney may delay a home sale closing if the seller isn't there. Without a valid power of attorney, the closing professionals and attorneys involved won't accept sale documents signed by the agent. If the seller named more than one person as agent and stated that either may act alone, either agent can sign documents at closing. However, if the seller specified the agents must act together, both agents have to sign the sale documents.

Death of Seller

A power of attorney ends as soon as the giver, or principal, dies. The closing will fall through if seller dies before the agent signs all the closing documents or the documents are filed in the land records. The seller's estate becomes responsible for the property upon the seller's death, and any documents the agent signed must be redone.

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Can a Person With Power of Attorney for Another Profit From the Sale of a House?

References

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Selling Property & Limited Power of Attorney

Generally, a power of attorney document gives authority to another person, known as your agent or attorney-in-fact, to conduct transactions or make decisions on your behalf. This type of document may be helpful if, for example, you cannot attend a real estate closing. You can draft a power of attorney giving a wide range of powers to your agent, or a more limited power of attorney, giving your agent specific powers for only certain transactions. Either type of POA can give your agent power to sell property on your behalf.

Can You Sell a Home With a Power of Attorney?

Depending on state laws, powers of attorney can give an agent broad powers over someone’s finances and property. With a power of attorney, the person who gives the power – called a principal – can customize the power he gives his agent. Both limited and general powers of attorney give an agent authority to sell the principal’s home.

Does a Power of Attorney Have the Right to View Medical Records?

A person named in a medical power of attorney generally has broad authority to make all medical decisions for the incapacitated principal that the principal might have made himself were he competent. She must select doctors and medical facilities and approve or disapprove medical treatment. In her capacity as health-care agent, she has the right to review the principal's medical records.

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