Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Indiana


What does the phrase 'attorney-in-fact' mean legally?

If someone signs your name to a contract or other legally binding document and then writes ''as attorney-in-fact'' before signing their own name, what legal effect does that have?

Is any notarized document required, such as a granted POA for this situation? What is the legal principle behind ''attorney-in-fact''?

In this specific situation, an 18 year old 'friend' signed the individual's name more than a dozen times on real estate documents involving the purchase of a house, including owner-occupancy agreements, interest rates for the mortgage loan, closing paperwork for the purchase of the home, etc. This same person then wrote ''By --- ---, her attorney-in-fact''.

The individual who was signed for claims she never saw the paperwork, never approved her name be signed, never granted anyone POA and generally claims no approval for her name being used.

What recourse does she have?

Thank you.

Asked on 3/31/09, 5:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

C. David DuMond Law Offices of David DuMond

Re: attorney-in-fact

An "attorney in fact" means the person designated in a power of attorney. If the transactions you described were completed by a person who was not an "attorney in fact" under a power of attorney, then they can all be set aside. You can get information from the title company. The title company should have required some reliable verification of the power of attorney. Obviously, there is some form of fraud going on, whether in the form of misrepresentations made to you about all this or perhaps a scheme where the realtor, title officer and mortgage company are in cahoots. You should contact your local police department for assistance. Your county bar association can make a referral to an attorney experienced in real estate litigation so you can compel the title company and bank to reverse everything. Good luck.

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Answered on 3/31/09, 9:35 pm

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