POWER OF ATTORNEY
A power of attorney (“POA”) is a powerful tool in estate planning and asset management that allows an individual or entity (the “Principal”) to grant another person or entity (the “Agent” or “Attorney in Fact”) authority to act on the Principal’s behalf. A POA can be general or special/specific in the powers it grants, durable or finite in length, or any combination thereof. The general POA grants very broad authority, and the special or specific POA grants authority only under certain circumstances or for a specific use. A durable POA grants authority that survives the Principal’s incapacity, and the finite POA limits the length of time the authority is granted.
Many states have a statutory format for a POA that must be strictly adhered to for it to be valid. Most states practice reciprocity, where if the POA is valid in the state it was executed, it is considered valid where it will be used despite that state’s statutory requirements.
All POAs must be notarized. If used to execute a document that will be recorded, the POA must also be recorded. Upon the death of the Principal, the POA is no longer in effect. It would be best if you had the Agent execute an affidavit to the effect that the Principal is still alive and has not revoked the POA.
The POA is a powerful estate planning tool but also a double-edged sword in our industry. It can easily facilitate fraud and malfeasance by the Agent.
Heritage Title’s Power of Attorney Requirements:
- The Specific Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (POA) will need to be executed by the Agent and Attorney in Fact exactly as the principal’s name is shown on the POA.
- The principal must initial the powers granted on the Power of Attorney.
- The principal is required to sign the POA in the presence of a notary.
- The original executed and notarized POA must be delivered to Heritage Title Company prior to closing along with a copy of the principal’s current valid driver’s license or passport.
- A phone number must be provided so that we may call the principal on the day of closing to verify that they are alive and well and haven’t revoked their POA.
- Any variation to the Statutory Durable Power of Attorney will be sent to our underwriter for approval prior to it being used in a transaction.
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