Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Executing a Document As Power of Attorney

A property owner who is unable to attend a closing may execute a Power of Attorney by which they grant the "attorney" the authority to execute the deed and other documents on their behalf. This is fairly common but there is still some confusion about the wording of documents executed in this manner. For this illustration, I'll refer to the property owner who has granted the power to someone else as the "principal" while the person to whom the power is granted will be called "the attorney."

In the Granting section of the deed, it would normally state, I, Principal, grant to buyer . . . When the document is to be executed by the Attorney rather than the Principal, this part of the document STILL SAYS "PRINCIPAL." The name of the Attorney is not inserted here in any way.

In the signature section of the deed, the Attorney signs the Principal's name, then immediately underneath the Principal's signature, the Attorney writes "By [name of attorney], his Attorney in Fact." If you want to do a really good job, include "Under a Power of Attorney recorded with the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Book 5555, Page 222."

Finally, in the acknowledgement clause, it should read as follows:

Then personally appeared Attorney and acknowledged the foregoing instrument to be the free act and deed of Principal.
Often an affidavit stating that the POA has not been revoked or suspended will be recorded, as well.

 See the Massachusetts Land Court's Registered Land Guideline 15 for more information on this.

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