An individual--or "principal"--can grant power of attorney to a third party--or "agent"--allowing that third party to buy or sell assets on the principal's behalf. A power of attorney generally takes effect when the principal becomes mentally or physically unable to tend to his own affairs. The two broad classifications of powers of attorney--general powers of attorney and special powers of attorney--have different rules regarding the sale of property.
General Powers of Attorney
An agent with general powers of attorney can do anything the principal can legally do, including buying and selling assets such as homes and property. Principals who do not wish their agents to buy and sell property on their behalf should consider some form of special powers of attorney as an alternative to general powers of attorney.
Special Powers of Attorney
Agents with special powers of attorney can only buy or sell financial securities and property on behalf of the principal if the principal allows the agent those rights in the original agreement. Unlike general powers of attorney, the powers granted to an agent with special powers of attorney are specifically outlined by the principal in the original agreement.
Which Power of Attorney to Use
Individuals who grant special powers of attorney can exercise more influence on the buying and selling of homes and property than individuals who grant general powers of attorney. Those choosing general powers of attorney are subject to almost total third-party control of their legal affairs once the powers of attorney take effect. it is important to consult a legal professional before signing a power of attorney grant.