Skip to main content

What to look for when purchasing a property sold through a power of attorney?

Buying a property from a person acting under a Power of Attorney should, according to Michael Riches, Trainee with MJP Conveyancing, pose no issue if all the relevant checks are made by your conveyancer. 

Some people may be concerned that the attorney does not have the right to sell the property; however, an explanation of what an attorney is and what powers they have should calm those concerns.

What is a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone (the Donor) to appoint someone to act on their behalf (the Attorney or Donee) and make decisions for them. These decisions can be in relation to Property and Financial matters or Health and Welfare matters.

There are two types of powers, a General Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney (previously known as an Enduring Power of Attorney).

A General Power only lasts while the Donor has mental capacity and may cease to have effect after a set period and will cease to have effect if the Donor loses mental capacity. In a property transaction any person can appoint an attorney under this general power to act on their behalf and sign all necessary documents.

A Lasting Power is only effective when registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. These are effective even when the Donor loses mental capacity, indeed these are often entered into in anticipation of the Donor becoming ill and losing capacity. The key to this Power though is that the Power must be granted and entered into when the Donor still has capacity and is fully aware of the arrangement and implications of the document.

As a Buyer you should be aware of who you are purchasing from and in what capacity they are acting. If you are aware you are Purchasing from someone acting under a Power of Attorney and the Power is still valid then your right to a good title is protected. However, if it is proved that you knew the Power was invalid or had expired or had previous knowledge about the circumstances in which the attorney’s power would be terminated then this right is not protected and you will not be able to register the property in your name.

When instructing your conveyancer you should make them aware at the outset, if you yourself are aware, that the property is being sold by someone acting under a Power of Attorney.  If this is not immediately apparent then it will be revealed within the contract documentation sent by the Seller’s conveyancer. The checks your conveyance should make, and you should ensure are made, are: 

Has a fully certified copy of the Power been supplied?

Is the Donor still alive – if the Donor is deceased then the Power automatically ceases to have effect and the attorney cannot act in that capacity

What type of Power is it – in a conveyancing transaction the Power must allow for the attorney to act in property and financial matters.

How many Donees are acting – this is important as both attorneys must agree to the sale and sign the documentation.

If all of the above is provided and correct then your right as a Buyer to a good title is protected.

Further guidance can be found on the website. This provides a lot of information on the Power of Attorney. Furthermore, if you would like to sell a property under a Power of Attorney it details the process to appoint an Attorney.

MJP Conveyancing are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at


Popular posts from this blog

Party Wall Act Costs - Protecting the building owner from the Highwayman

One of the most worrying aspects of entering the Party Wall Act 1996 (Act) arena is the uncertainty surroundingfees, or as they are referred to within the Act -‘costs’.
If you are fortunate enough ( or some might say lucky enough) to have at your side a competent party wall surveyor, and one with a moral compass, the chances are you will derive a certain degree of protection.However, there is still no guarantee you will not need to set aside a considerable sum of money to cover the cost of becoming trapped within the Act.This applies equally to both building owner and adjoining owner, and one must not forget that if an adjoining owner’s surveyor does not recover all of his costs from the building owner, there is every possibility the adjoining owner may be left to meet the remaining liability.
The problem of high, unreasonable and unpredictable costs is caused, in part, by a piece of malfunctioning legislation, and patly as a result of certain unconscionable conduct on the p…

Building Regulations and moving home

Do I have supply evidence of Building Regulation Approval in respect of works carried out to my property when I look to sell my property?
If you have the approval then of course supply it – it will help to ensure your sale moves quickly.
If you have carried out works and approval was required and sought and you no longer have a certificate then call the issuing council and ask for a duplicate.
If you have carried out work, and the work required building regulation approval, but this was not sought then you need to consider with your solicitor when the work was carried out and what to do in response to your buyer’s request for sight of the approval.
The following may help.
Check that work carried out actually required building regulation approval as not all work attracts the requirement.
If the building work was carried out before November 1985 it would not require building regulation approval. There is no need therefore to supply it or offer indemnity insurance.
If work was carried out af…

Do not purchase a New Build Property without first reading this....

Buying a property which has yet to be built, or which is newly constructed should be approached with care and here are some tips which will help:
Remember those friendly and helpful people within the sales offices are sales people and are no different from those people who you would find in car and double-glazing showrooms.  They are paid on results and work under the pressure of targets.   Once they have you signed up they will be your best friend and be in regular, sometimes daily, contact until they have collected all of you money.   There are many instances when this shadowing could be conceived as harassment.At the outset you will be asked about whether you have a mortgage and a solicitor to undertake the legal work.   You will be steered towards making use of the developers preferred brokers and solicitors.  These are ‘partners’ who have been chosen to work with the developer as the developer expects those partners to report to them regularly and to do all they can to ensure the …