What You Might Not Know About a Power of Attorney

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

Most agents just sell real estate and don't always pay a lot of attention to the specifics of legal documents. Paperwork is often the last thing an agent wants to deal with. That's why so many busy agents have full-time assistants to assist. But it's helpful to maintain a basic understanding of what you need to know to help your clients successfully close escrow.

When we sent documents to Alaska for a buyer to sign on her behalf and on behalf of her husband stationed overseas, we thought we had covered all of the bases. We made sure the power of attorney was correct. The escrow officer also sent detailed instructions on exactly and precisely how to sign with a power of attorney. In addition, the buyer's mobile notary received specific instructions on how the buyer was supposed to sign.

After the buyer finished signing, she asked the mobile signer to verify that everything was signed correctly. The mobile signer checked the documents, all clear, and then FedXed the docs to escrow. Excited to record, the escrow officer opened the package. We had funds. We could release. Uh-oh, the documents were not signed correctly. We could not record on Friday.

The biggest issue was the seller had packed and moved everything out of her house. She was waiting for the funds to reach her escrow company that afternoon so she could move into her new home. But it didn't happen. Because of the way the buyer had signed with the power of attorney. You won't believe what she did. You can read more in my personal blog today at this link: Signing With a Power of Attorney for Sacramento Real Estate.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Tags:
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signing with a power of attorney
how to sign poa
basics of power of attorney
signing as an attorney in fact
what can go wrong with a poa

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Rainmaker
2,578,280
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Elizabeth... I have a great closing attorney who does these documents for my clients, when needed, well in advance so that when they are due, all is good. Knock on wood, to-date no issues with powers of attorney for me, including for clients who have been in places like South Korea, China, Italy when docs needed signing.

May 20, 2018 05:16 AM #11
Ambassador
1,633,456
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Wow. you would think the Notary would have witnessed enough of these to be of some value in terms of how to correctly sign the document.  What a shame. 

May 20, 2018 07:14 AM #12
Rainmaker
2,069,300
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Barbara Todaro Attorneys make mistakes, too. But you can't help a buyer who decides to print her husband's signature.

May 20, 2018 09:40 AM #13
Rainmaker
2,069,300
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Wayne Martin An attorney should not have to supervise a signature. That's actually a job for a notary public in California.

May 20, 2018 09:41 AM #14
Rainmaker
2,069,300
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Nina Hollander Real estate agents outta be versed in how to sign with a power of attorney, but they are not. I explained how to sign a half dozen times to the other side and they still got it wrong, even on the RCSD. Finally, my assistant said I should give up because even our corporate department was fairly lax in how they accepted this document.

May 20, 2018 09:43 AM #15
Rainmaker
2,069,300
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD When we got to closing and the wife had to sign the RCSD document, which describes the authority of the attorney-in-fact, she signed it solely with her name for her husband. And she's a professor.

May 20, 2018 09:44 AM #16
Ambassador
2,747,238
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Elizabeth! I go a step further - I have them scan the documents back to me so that I can be sure they were signed properly, as well as having the Closing attorney review simultaneously. If one of us catches a mistake, they are still there with the Notary to re-print said documents (if necessary) and sign the documents properly. I can't believe a Notary didn't know that printing wasn't acceptable! That boggles the mind, doesn't it?! Not even to mention the agent lacking in proactivity!

May 20, 2018 11:06 AM #17
Rainmaker
2,069,300
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debe Maxwell, CRS All 100 pages? Does the notary run home and come back? Or, does the notary sleep at the house waiting for you and then for the closing attorney to review documents?

Our buyer was in Alaska, and as the listing agent, I am not involved in that side of the transaction. I know you're like me, always looking for ways to fix crazy stuff like this but there is sadly no way when it's not your buyer.

May 20, 2018 11:16 AM #18
Rainmaker
2,578,280
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Elizabeth... I'd like it if agents were better versed on filling out contractual forms we use all the time!  The problem with "over training" on POA's is that I can see someone arguing we are practicing law if we get overly-involved. In NC we can't even write out a sentence in an addendum.

May 20, 2018 12:46 PM #19
Ambassador
3,690,941
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

One would think the mobile notary would have known what's required for notarization. Since when is a signature printed?

 

May 20, 2018 01:50 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,405,295
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, most of my buyer clients are moving from other states and use POA often, thank goodness I've never had a problem. It's sad to even think people don't know how a signature look. 

May 21, 2018 04:56 PM #21
Rainmaker
358,297
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

This is a great "heads up" notice for us all.

Attention to detail is not wide spread.

Someone has to pay attention for all.

Thanks

May 22, 2018 06:37 AM #22
Rainmaker
2,008,063
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Having the right professional for the job is so important. I wonder sometimes why people try to cut corners...usually costs more in the long run.

May 22, 2018 03:13 PM #23
Rainer
142,653
Theresa Akin
CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP - Corpus Christi, TX

I went to a parochial school. No choice but to learn cursive. My kids hated the word having to write in cursive. I sat down with both at the time. 7 1/2 years apart so with both I told them to "draw" their names till they got it correctly. It made a difference how I worded the "chore' of cursive. Over the years my signature has its good and bad days depending on "arthri'". Now my husband usually prints but when it comes to signing anything, people ask what kind of signature is that? It's forgery proof but it's his cursive. 

May 22, 2018 06:43 PM #24
Rainmaker
619,787
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Elizabeth, well, we learn something new everyday, I guess!  A squiggle for a signature is acceptable, but printing isn't - honestly if the Notary Public witnessed and acknowledged the signing I'm surprised that is not enough -(

May 22, 2018 06:58 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,386,803
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Interesting. Like you, I can't believe they don't teach cursive anymore. Next thing, they won't teach math because we can just ask Siri. : (

May 22, 2018 10:46 PM #26
Rainmaker
462,946
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL
REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL

POA’s can indeed be complicated so instructions must be paid attention to.  I once had a potential listing I lost because the owners son insisted his Fathers POA was good even after his Father passed away which he knew would be happening soon.  I explained the POA is no longer valid once his Fathers passes so he signed with an agent that told him I was wrong.  Long story short the Father passed away, the house went under contract and the POA was no longer valid so the deal fell apart and the son had to put the home through probate.

May 23, 2018 03:18 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,235,361
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

These was an interesting read. I always use cursive to sign my name, but didn't realize you HAD to. Thanks for sharing!

May 23, 2018 04:29 AM #28
Rainer
451,019
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

POA's should prepare a succession plan involving any real estate assets and if not experienced or knowledgeable, employ an attorney to create a bulletproof succession plan using a trust to avoid probate and additional expenses and as trustee, maintain the distribution of the assets.   

May 23, 2018 04:03 PM #29
Rainer
90,434
Anthony Kirlew
Fiscally Sound - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Choices

Big FAIL by the signing agent. They had one job... make sure the signatures get on the papers correctly. If you don't know how an attorney in fact should sign documents, you should not be in the document signing business.

May 27, 2018 02:16 PM #30
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