While not strictly a real estate law issue, our office frequently has real estate purchases and sales that require an interest in property to be transferred under the authority of a power of attorney.
Aside from the strict legal requirements of how to make a power of attorney in B.C. and how to make it an effective tool for the attorney to deal with real estate, there are other legal requirements that are very important for attorneys to be aware of. Attorneys are often unaware of these issues. Many of these issues are canvassed in Felice Kirsh’s article, “Attorneys for property often under microscope”.
The most important issue that cannot be stressed enough is that attorneys must carry out their duties in the best interests of the person who gave the power of attorney (the “Donor”). In light of this, it is foolhardy for an attorney to begin mixing assets of the Donor with the attorney’s personal assets and vice versa. In carrying out their duties, attorneys are also obliged to keep records of:
Failing to at least make reasonable efforts to keep such records can be problematic if and when an attorney is required to pass accounts.
This post only discusses the responsibilities of being an attorney briefly and is only intended to flag some matters that attorneys ought to be aware of as they carry out their duties.
For further information about being an attorney under a power of attorney, be sure to contact a lawyer who practices in that area of law.