Get answers to legal questions about real estate

the question

If you have two sisters who have co-equal unlimited power of attorney rights for their Mother, who is into Alzheimer's and lives in an assisted living facility, can either sister sell the Mother's home while she is alive without the other sister's approval? This is a case of classic sibling rivalry. Can one sister unilaterally sell Mom's home without the other sister approving the sale? The power of attorney reads "and" between the two sisters names as opposed to "or." Don't know if this makes any difference.

the answer

Two things here: The wording of the Power Attorney is important. I and any other attorney would of course want to review the document before giving an opinion, but given the facts as stated here, if the document requires both principals to join in the execution of a document in order to exercise the authorities granted in the Power of Attorney then there you have your answer. If the document is silent on that and just contains the word ìandî between the two sisters names it would seem that both may be required. The other part of this issue is that if a closing attorney is aware of a disagreement between two appointed principals he or she will likely not be willing to rely on just the signature of only one and most assuredly the title company the closing attorney is working with would not be willing to extend themselves if there is a known disagreement regarding the Power of Attorney. It will likely take the two principals reaching a mutual agreement to allow the transaction to proceed.

Phillip C. Price
Real Estate Closings

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