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By: Cheryl Jones, Branch Manager and Title Counsel, Western District

“Standard” power of attorney????  You all know “those” closings.  The ones where everything seems to be on track and then you receive a telephone call or an email from a realtor, client or loan officer in which you learn that some portion of your closing documents will be executed pursuant to a power of attorney.  The next few sentences usually sound something like this:  “This should be an easy one.  It's a standard power of attorney.”  I have to wonder if this mythical creature, the “standard power of attorney,” really exists?  Maybe it did at one time but is now extinct?  Maybe the caller is just reading off the title of the document?  Or, perhaps, all powers of attorney start off “standard” until you add the specific facts of the transaction?  In the end, I think we can all agree that the only way to find an acceptable answer is by asking the right questions.

There truly are some closings where the power of attorney that crosses your desk, whether drafted by you or a third party, is statutorily compliant and raises no red flags.  Then there are some closings where the proposed power of attorney has a defect, but one that can be easily identified and remedied (e.g. you just need to record the original).  Then there are all the other closings where you start the analysis and end up with more questions than answers.  So, what are the proper questions to ask?

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