In real estate there are times where sellers or buyers use a "power of attorney" to have someone act on their behalf. These are usually limited powers of attorney allowing the person to act for that person for a specified act and that act only.
However, there are certain occasions where powers of attorney are not allowed. When an executor has been appointed by the court for an estate, that executor takes on certain responsibilities and agrees to uphold them before the court. They cannot pass those powers over to someone else by a power of attorney.
A real estate transaction can fall apart for many reasons, allowing someone to use a power of attorney when they are not authorized can be one of them and it is important to make sure you have professional legal advice before signing documents and making sure the people on the other side of the transaction are authorized to act for whom they say they are. In the same way, when an agent takes a listing they have to make sure the person signing the documentation is truly the owner and is free and able to sign the listing documents. One of the ways we do this is to ask for a copy of the deed and proof of identity when we list properties along the Main Line outside of Philadelphia.
There have recently been many scams on different websites, Craigslist is one example of homes being offered for rent at ridiculously low prices by people who have nothing to do with the homes. When setting up a showing they tell the prospective tenant they are out of town and they should just walk around the house and look in the windows. Because the rent is so low, these possible tenants then come back and say they are interested and are asked to send a security deposit and first months rent usually to a mail box and the owner will mail the keys to them. Of course, no keys arrive and they are out of pocket.
In the same way as when we list a property for sale on the Main Line, we verify the person arranging to list a rental property to ensure that possible tenants are protected from scams like this.
These are all hidden actions that are part of our job, but are often not noticed or understood but which build up trust in us as agents who can be contacted about listings or rentals along the Main Line without fear of there being any problems because our clients know that we are representing them and protecting them.