A power of attorney is a legal document in which one individual (the principal) authorizes another individual (the agent a/k/a attorney-in-fact) to act on his or her behalf. Power of attorney forms are used for many different purposes and a power of attorney given for one purpose may not be suitable for another. A real estate power of attorney must authorize the agent to sign documents affecting real property (critical terms include the power to sell and convey and/or purchase and encumber).
In addition to limitations on scope, a power of attorney may require a triggering event (e.g., it may become effective only when the principal becomes unable to manage his or her affairs). A power of attorney may include a termination date and all powers of attorney expire automatically upon the death of the principal.
N.B For the purpose of closing a real estate transaction, a pre-signing, or a mail-out signing are two possible alternatives to the use of a power of attorney.
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