The Title Tip of the Week this week discusses the use of Powers of Attorney for the sale, purchase or refinance of real estate.
Powers of Attorney
If you are handling a transaction where your buyer or seller is unable to attend closing, they may consider using a Power of Attorney (POA) to allow someone else to sign on their behalf. Discuss this with the title company early in the process because in some instances, such as where a party has already moved out of town, we may be able to handle the closing by emailing or overnighting the documents to the parties to sign, have notarized and shipped back to us. However in some cases a POA may be necessary, such as when one party is stationed overseas and is unreachable. Hopefully in such a case they have already given someone POA to sign on their behalf. A number of things to be aware of when using a POA for the sale, purchase or refinance of real estate:
First, any POA to be used at closing must be approved by the title company and their underwriter. Please provide the document to the title company early in the process to allow them time to get the requisite approval.
If the Buyer is using a POA it will also have to be approved by the Buyer's lender prior to closing since they will be executing mortgage documents.
Generally the title company will have forms available for you to use if you do not already have a POA prepared. Your POA may be specific to just the transaction at hand, or may be more general and cover a broader spectrum of transactions. If you anticipate creating a POA that will cover more than just this real estate transaction you may want to consult with an attorney to ensure the document gives only the powers you intend to give to the individual signing on your behalf.
The original POA must be brought to closing and will have to remain with the title company to be recorded with the appropriate documents. Because the POA will be recorded and become public record, it is advisable to not include social security numbers on the document. The original will be returned to you once the documents have gone on record.
A POA is generally not valid if the person who executed it is now deceased. In the case of military POA's the title company will usually require a statement or affidavit from the individual's commanding officer that they are alive and well.
The POA must be notarized by an independent third party and preferably will be witnessed by an additional two persons.
Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:
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Dorothy Piller began her career in title insurance 15 years ago as a data entry clerk for a title plant - essentially updating a searchable database of all recorded documents in the county. She advanced through the company holding the positions of Commitment Typist, Title Searcher, Title Examiner and Construction Disbursing Agent. Dorothy joined Benchmark in 2002 as a Title Officer and Searcher, where she focuses on examining evidence of title and preparing commitments for title insurance on residential properties. She is also responsible for title searches in the counties of Monroe and Randolph. Dorothy was a key member of the SureClose development team, assisting in moulding SureClose to best serve the needs of Benchmark's employees and customers. Dorothy lives in Baldwin, IL in Randolph County and has three children, Andrew, 23, Andrea, 20 and Jake, 13. Dorothy can be reachd at 618-239-3750 or by email at email@example.com.
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