Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Today's Title Tip discusses the proper handling of the sale (or purchase) of a residence on behalf of a disabled person.  

Property Transfers Involving Disabled Persons

by Sarah Holdener, Esq.
When handling a transaction where the seller or buyer is a representative of a disable person, it is important to notify the title company early in the process to give all parties ample time to resolve any issues before closing.  An example of a typical situation where this issue arises is discussed below:

Question:  My mother just moved in with me (or into a nursing home) because she is no longer physically capable of taking care of herself. How can I help her sell her house?

Answer:  It appears that your mother may be prevented from participating in the closing process due to a physical handicap and not because she is mentally incompetent.  If this is the case, and if she has not previously executed a power of attorney, you may want her to sign one now.  In order for your mother to transfer her property without appearing at closing, the title company will require you to present an original, validly executed and notarized power of attorney naming you as her attorney in fact.  You should have this document prepared by or reviewed by an attorney specializing in real estate, who is licensed to practice law in the state where the property is located, before you use it to handle your motherís real estate transaction. This document will be recorded in the County Recorderís Office with the warranty deed, so be careful not to include social security numbers.  A more detailed discussion of Powers of Attorney will be provided in a future Title Tip Newsletter.

If you mother did not execute a power of attorney when she was of sound mind, and is no longer mentally competent, you may need to institute guardianship proceedings. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area for assistance in obtaining guardianship over your motherís estate as this proceeding will affect more than just the transfer of her real property.  After obtaining guardianship of her estate, you will need to file a petition with the Clerk of the Court to get the courtís permission to sell or purchase assets for your motherís estate. The title company will require this order from the court approving the transaction before the we are able to proceed with closing.
For more detailed information or advise, please consult with an attorney specializing in guardianship proceedings, or visit the Illinois State Bar Associationís Lawyer Finder website ( to find a lawyer in your area.

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
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President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
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Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

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   Employee Spotlight

Doreen Miller

 Doreen Miller, attorney and Commercial Division Manager for Benchmark Title Company, has been examining and closing Commercial transactions for 10 years.  Doreen has 17 years title insurance experience with some of the largest title insurance companies in the nation.  Before joining the title insurance industry, Doreen obtained a nursing degree from the University of Illinois and worked as a nurse for one year before starting law school at DePaul in Chicago.  Following graduation Doreen spent two years in private practice with attorney Mark Weber in Robinson, Illinois, where they focused their practice on business and municipal law.  Doreen is licensed to practice law in Illinois and before the Federal Courts.  She resides in Swansea with her husband, Scott Miller, and her four children, Patrick, 21, Jane 17, Danielle, 10, and Gabrielle, 7.  Doreen can be reached at 618-239-3750 or by email at









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