Dealing with Powers of Attorney

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Written by Benny L. Kass on Thursday, 03 December 2015; posted on Realty Times

You and your spouse own your home and you would like to sell it. However, your spouse is currently unable to sign the sales contract. This is because he is either out of the country in some exotic far-away-place where fax and overnight delivery is unavailable, or because he is physically and mentally unable to make decisions or sign legal documents.

What to do?
There is a document called a “power of attorney”, whereby your spouse signs a legal document authorizing you to act on his/her behalf. The giver of the power of attorney is called the Principal. The receiver is generally called the “attorney in fact”. The latter is given the right to act on behalf of the principal, for the purposes and functions spelled out in the legal document.
There are two types of Powers of Attorney:

  1. General
    Here, the principal authorizes the attorney in fact to take any and all actions as if the principal was taking them himself. This is also known as a Durable Power of Attorney.
    Keep in mind that your own State law may have specific requirements in order to sell real property by way of a Power of Attorney. Some states will not permit real estate to be conveyed by a General power of attorney.

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