It’s almost summer and the real estate market is definitely in full swing. Some properties that sold earlier this Spring have closing dates very soon including one of our clients, Raymond (not his real name).
I met with Raymond last March about his dad’s estate. He is the executor (also called an estate trustee) in his dad’s Will.
Raymond had some questions about executor compensation and passing his accounts. He also had just sold his dad’s house and an issue had come up. When negotiating the purchase date, Raymond forgot that he would be out east for his daughter’s wedding on the day of closing.
I won’t be available on the day my real estate deal closes…what could possibly go wrong at that late date?
Real estate deals need the seller to be readily available right up to and including the day of closing. If the seller isn’t available to make last minute decisions or approve a change, the deal could be delayed or fall through completely. If this happens, the seller could be held liable for breach of contract.
Last minute requests from buyers or their lawyers often involve unforeseen events. Here are a few examples,
• On the day of closing, we learn that the buyer’s mortgage application was not approved. He doesn’t have the money to close the deal. The buyer asks the seller to delay closing by a week so the buyer can find other funding.
• A heavy rainstorm results in some minor water damage in the basement. The buyers don’t want to delay the closing but want a written guarantee from the seller that they will cover the cost of repairs.
• During a final walk-through of the property the week before closing, the buyers discover a leaking tap that they insist be fixed by the sellers at their expense prior to closing.
All of these examples would require the buyer to make a decision and sign any paperwork needed to resolve the issue.
I am going to be away on the day my real estate deal closes…what can I do?
If you plan to be away on the day of closing, you can give someone else the legal authority to deal with the sale of the property on your behalf. You do this by signing a special or limited power of attorney for property that gives someone else legal authority to make decisions for you and to complete the sale in your place. The power of attorney for property is ‘limited’ as it gives only the authority needed to deal with the sale of the property and any requirements related to that but nothing further. The power of attorney document must be registered in the Land Titles system before closing.
As I cautioned Raymond, it is extremely important to ensure that the limited power of attorney for property that you sign does not revoke any existing powers of attorney that you may have signed previously but which you do not want to revoke.
If you are acting as an executor for an estate that includes real property, make an appointment to meet with one of our lawyers. We will review your options and guide you through the process to make sure you meet all of your duties and responsibilities as executor.
Reproduction of this blog is permitted if the author is credited. If you have questions or if you would like more information, please call us at 613 836-9915. This blog is not intended to be legal advice but contains general information. Please consult a lawyer or other professional to determine how the information in this blog might apply to you.
Blog posts pre-dated December 1, 2015 were originally published under Neff Law Office Professional Corporation.