POWERS OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY: THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS
If you are buying or selling a house it may be useful to obtain a Power of Attorney for property.
First, it is important to understand that there are multiple documents that qualify as “Powers of Attorney” under Illinois law. Certain documents give another individual permission to act on your behalf for a variety of reasons.
You can give someone Power of Attorney over your health care. If you are unable to make decisions for medical reasons, an agent you appointed with a Power of Attorney for your health care may be consulted. Or if you need someone to access your safety deposit box you can grant that ability via a Power of Attorney.
A common Power of Attorney is one for property. This document focuses on real estate and grants your agent the ability to act on your behalf only as to matters of real property or “land,” including any houses or other structures built on top. For example, if you are buying or selling a house and cannot attend the closing transaction, you can execute a Power of Attorney to have someone else attend the closing and execute the necessary documents on your behalf.
When executing a Power of Attorney, it is critical that this be done correctly and pursuant to Illinois law. Only in this way is the Power of Attorney valid. A Power of Attorney that does not comply with Illinois law should not be honored and your anticipated agent will not be able to perform her or her tasks.
To ensure that your Power of Attorney is valid, the safest bet is to use what Illinois calls the “Statutory Form.” This Form is a pre-drafted Power of Attorney laid out explicitly by Illinois law. The Statutory Form is too long to re-print in its entirety within this article but can be found in section 3-3 of the Illinois Power of Attorney Act (755 ILCS 45/1-1 et seq).
If you do not use the Statutory Form, your Power of Attorney can still be valid. Illinois states that a proper Power of Attorney must include:
- The name of the individual you are appointing as your agent;
- The specific powers you are designating to your agent; and
- Your signature in the presence of a notary public and at least one other witness.
An additional consideration when you appoint an agent using a Power of Attorney is to give the document an expiration date. You may not want this particular agent to act on your behalf for any longer than is necessary. Finally, try to narrow the scope of the agent’s authority as much as possible. This may prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary disputes down the road.
If you need for information on a Power of Attorney or are planning on buying or selling a home, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides thorough and speedy real estate assistance in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.