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Using a Power of Attorney in Real Estate Transactions

In the current, fast-paced world, people often times find it difficult to be present at a closing. Perhaps a work or vacation schedule prevents a person from being present at a real estate transaction.  Military personnel are often times deployed overseas.  Often times folks are forced to relocate quickly and must sell their house from afar.  For these and many other reasons, a power of attorney may be the right tool for a closing.

Simply put, a power of attorney is a document that gives a person the authority to do certain acts on your behalf. This person is often referred to as the “power of attorney” or “agent.”  In a real estate transaction, this is commonly done with a “limited power of attorney.”  This allows the designated person the limited authority to sell or purchase real estate on behalf of a person.  The power of attorney document is signed by the person giving the authority prior to the real estate closing.  The designated individual provides the document to the title insurance or closing agent.  At the closing, the power of attorney simply signs for the absent person.

However, it is important to remember a couple of points to avoid delays or confusion at the closing:

  • Plan on having the power of attorney prepared well before closing. Often times the individual signing the document will be overseas. This will require finding a notary or equivalent at a consulate’s office. If in the United States, but simply unavailable, a notary will need to sign the initial power of attorney. Also, an original power of attorney will be needed for the closing.
  • Let your real estate agent, title insurance agent, closing agent or banker know as soon as possible that you are using a power of attorney to close. It is extremely important that these individuals know about the presence of the power of attorney in order to prepare the closing correctly. Failure to let these individuals know of that fact could delay closing.
  • If the power of attorney is being used to sell a principal residence or “homestead,” Kansas law dictates that specific language be added to the power of attorney. If the language is not present, the power of attorney may lack the proper authority to complete the closing.
  • Have a real estate professional assist you with the form. The power of attorney document and its requirements can often appear daunting and confusing. A real estate professional can assure that the document is completed correctly and prevent a delay in closing.
  • Decide who will be your power of attorney. Often times this is a stateside spouse, real estate agent or family member. It is important that this person be trustworthy. After all, the family home is most Americans’ largest investment. You do not want just anybody handling this transaction for you.

 

Wamego Title is also happy to assist in the preparation of the power of attorney to ease the closing process. Our office has seasoned real estate attorneys on staff that have prepared countless power of attorney documents for every type of real estate transaction.   Additionally, our attorneys are available to answer questions regarding the power of attorney.  With a little pre-planning, a seemingly daunting and confusing situation can be made easy.