If I have power of attorney can I deed a house over to my name?
If you have power of attorney, you can sign any document authorised by the granter. A power of attorney comes in two forms: a limited power of attorney and a general power of attorney.
A limited power of attorney specifies the specific acts that the person holding the power of attorney may sign. For example, a limited power of attorney may limit the holder to signing or negotiating on behalf of a single piece of property. A general power of attorney allows the holder to act on behalf of another person in all matters.
Authorisation to Transfer Property
You must determine that the power of attorney you hold authorises you to transfer a home into your own name. If the power of attorney is specific in it's authorisation, the verbiage should read that you have "the power to transfer, encumber or negotiate all matters" relating to the home.
A specific power of attorney should include the legal address and physical address of your home. The legal address is the tract, lot, map and page of your property. You can get a copy of this from your local title company.
If you hold a general power of attorney, you are authorised to act in all matters relating to the person who granted you the authority. For example, if you hold a general power of attorney to act on behalf of John Doe, and John Doe owns a home, you can transfer the home to your name using a grant deed.
When you hold power of attorney, you are always acting "on behalf" of another person.
This is why when you sign a grant deed, you must sign using your own name and then add "on behalf" of the person who granted you the power of attorney. For example, if your name is Jack Smith and John Doe granted you power of attorney, you would sign all documents "Jack Smith on behalf of John Doe." A notary public will require two forms of identification on a grant deed transferring property. Some states like California require a thumbprint if a deed involves transferring property.
All transfer deeds, such as a grant deed, issued by you acting with power of attorney must be recorded at your local county recorder of the property's location. This is to provide public notice that a change in ownership occurred with your property. All real estate ownership is part of the public record, which includes your recording information.
If you don't record the grant deed, it is not enforceable. This means that if someone records a transfer on the property before you recorded your grant deed, the other deed would have priority even if it is signed at a later date than your grant deed.
Transferring title from one entity to another may trigger several things. It may cause the property to be reassessed for property tax purposes. Transfers between related parties are usually exempt.
A transfer might also trigger a taxable event with the federal and state tax authorities if the transfer is not between related parties. Contact your tax professional or attorney to see if this is the case. Your tax professional will also advise you as to your basis in the property received for purposes of future tax.
For example, if you grant property to yourself from an unrelated party with a valid power of attorney, your standing on the property will be the same as the granter's. You will need to contact your tax professional or attorney to verify this, because it will have important consequences in the future if you sell the property and it has liens or other owners you are unaware of.