This is an extremely common question I get asked nearly every real estate transaction. Can a spouse or partner sign on their spouse’s behalf? The short answer is no. This is a legally binding contract that typically must be notarized and is legally binding in court, therefore, all signatures and even initials need to be from the actual person themselves.
In today’s day and age, you never know who is going to scam home so it’s important to have both parties or whoever is going to be on the title indeed and whoever is conducting a real estate transaction to be the actual person responsible for their own signature or initials. This can be tricky when there are military spouses or spouses that may be out of town during high contract signing seasons but this is something that both partners need to plan for.
This is probably most common when it comes to military families. However, a lot of wives and husbands may have power of attorney and have the legal authority to sign on their spouse’s behalf. A POA means that one spouse has the authority to access the other spouse’s financial accounts and sign the legal documents on their behalf. This is also called an attorney in fact, which means that one spouse actually acts as the other spouse. However, this is the only reason one spouse could have the authority to sign on their spouse’s behalf.
This goes for military spouses, spouses who may be incarcerated, or spouses that may be out of the country or legally impaired and cannot sign their own name. Technically, anyone who has power of attorney for another person can legally sign their name and this could mean an adult child for a parent, partners, even business partners. However, to legally sign the real estate agent must have the document stating that they have power of attorney to do so. Because this is a legally binding contract, anyone including those participating in the contract without their own signature is bound by the laws and rules within the contract.
While this is a little bit of a sticky situation it is not uncommon. The important point to remember is to have all legal documents necessary in order to prove that you have the power of attorney to sign. Even small little initials here or there must be signed by everyone that’s on the contract including buyers, sellers, and anyone else involved. Not doing so could risk losing the property and the agent losing their license.