POA and contract for deed

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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POA and contract for deed

If I am purchasing my parents land on contract for deed, they live in an assisted living, should I be the Power of Attorney for them?

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Real Estate Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Probably not. While there is no out-and-out legal bar on you being the agent or attorney-in-fact (those are the terms for the person given power by a POA), if you are the agent, you have a "fiduciary" duty to be fully fair and loyal to the principal(s): the person(s) giving you the POA. That would include a duty to maximize the return on investment--i.e. what they get for their property. That of course conflicts with your own self-interest; but agents are supposed to put their principal's interest ahead of their own. Being the agent when you are also the buyer therefore has a built-in conflict of interest which could, if there is a family falling out or second thoughs on your parents' part, lead to liabiity for "breach of fiduciary duty" for you. Let someone else be designated agent or attorney-in-fact for this sale, even if you are for all other purposes.

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