June 10th, 2019 at 10:48 pm

Question: I am the buyer’s agent for a probate transaction. The hearing for the court confirmation of the sale has just been set, but my buyer will be out of the country on that day. My buyer wants to give me a power of attorney to act on his behalf. Should I agree?

Answer: No, that’s not a good idea. A power of attorney (POA) allows you to sign on behalf of someone else. But here, you are not just signing on the client’s behalf. You are also acting as the client’s real estate agent. Regardless of whether this is a probate situation or any other situation, if anything goes wrong, the client can easily claim that you breached your fiduciary duty to act in the client’s best interest. Although the law does not specifically prohibit you from being a client’s POA, your exposure to potential liability is simply too great. Suggest to your client that he can ask someone else to be his POA, e.g. a relative, friend, or attorney.

-Thank you to Rinde Philippe (Santa Monica Office) for suggesting this week’s legal tip.

Copyright© 2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP). All rights reserved. Any unauthorized reproduction or use of this material is strictly prohibited. This information is believed to be accurate as of June 5, 2019. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice in individual situations, and is not intended to nor does it create a standard of care for real estate professionals.

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