By Peter Borszcz / Powers of Attorney, Sellers /

In Kelowna, it is common place that real estate closings occur with another party signing on behalf of the Seller and executing documents by a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document whereby one person (the DONOR) confers authority on another person (the ATTORNEY) to take certain actions on their behalf.

A power of attorney can be LIMITED in scope. For example it can only allow a person to deal with banking affairs and it may specifically exclude the right to deal with real estate. There are specific limitations on powers of attorney with respect to real estate, for example, s.27 of the Property Law Act prohibits an ATTORNEY from selling land to himself and s.56 of the Land Title states that a filed Power of Attorney will (unless expressly excluded) expire 3 years after the date it was signed.

To be valid to transfer land, a lawyer is looking for a number of items including:

  1. ascertaining the true identity of the parties involved;
  2. make inquiries to ensure the POA has not been revoked;
  3. ensuring that the ORIGINAL must be filed with the Land Title Office with a DF#;
  4. ensuring that the POA was properly witnessed by an OFFICER under s.42(3) of the Land Title Act;
  5. ensuring the POA has sufficient powers to transfer land; and,
  6. ensuring that the attorney must be at least 19 yrs old.

Realtors should:

  1. ensure they obtain a copy of the Power of Attorney for their file;
  2. ensure they know the identity of their clients (both DONOR and ATTORNEY); and
  3. ensure their client’s lawyer is aware that the Closing will be occurring by Power of Attorney.