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All real estate transactions need execution of contracts to be valid and enforceable. This execution entails the signing of the land documents by the parties to the transaction and the affixing of seals where necessary.
While executing documents, there has always been the question of whether a land document may be signed on someone else’s behalf. The answer to this question is in the positive, yes.
To make a person validly sign land documents over a property, all that is needed is a legitimate delegation of powers to designated individuals. This delegation can be done by executing a power of attorney.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which authenticates a Donor’s authorization of a Donee (who is called an attorney) to do in the stead of the Donor anything which the Donor can do lawfully as may be stated in the Power of Attorney.
Where the power granted to the attorney is general, he can do any lawful act over the property; this includes signing land documents on behalf of the ‘donor’.
It should be noted that a power of attorney can only be granted to a person in law. In this context, a person in law is a person above the age of eighteen or a company known to law. Where the attorney is not known to law, the grant of power is invalid.
In addition, the grant of power must be attested. This suggests that the document appointing the attorney must be signed by a witness, who is a third party.
Another requirement of the law is that where the power of attorney is granted to be exercised in a foreign country, it must be attested to (witnessed) by a notary public, a judge or a magistrate.
NOTABLE REASONS PARTIES TO A LAND TRANSACTION PREFER TO EXECUTE A POWER OF ATTORNEY
1. It is an instrument mainly used for delegation.
2. It does not transfer an interest in land
3. It is usually executed by one party i.e. the donor
4. A power of Attorney is usually revocable unless it is expressed to be irrevocable
5. There is no special mode of creating a Power of Attorney UNLESS it authorizes the Attorney to execute a deed.
Therefore, a Power of Attorney can be said to be the essential exception needful in allowing third parties sign a land agreement on behalf of parties to the agreement.
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