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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10236
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 20 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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I was asked by a friend and neighbour of more than 20 years

Resolved Question:

I was asked by a friend and neighbour of more than 20 years standing, if I would be willing to witness signatures on a power of attorney. I agreed, however she later presented me with a document already signed by her son and daughter for me to sign as witness. I have known the son and daughter since they were children, but do not know their signatures and did not see them sign.
As this was sprung on me I did not query the validity of my signing when I had not actually seen the signatures made. I did not have time to think this through and did not wants to upset my friend or her family, but this matter has bothered me ever since.
She now asks me to witness her husbands POA, signed by her son (as before) and his daughter, whom I do not know.
I have no reason whatsoever to think there is anything amiss in my friends family, I suspect that she does not really understand what she has asked me to do and is acting out of expediency.
In signing the first POA I feel that I have committed a fraud in not seeing the document signed and am not happy to witness the second POA.
I do not believe that there is anything questionable about this situation on the part of my neighbour or her husband, both of whom are valued friends.
Their request places me in an awkward situation, I do not want to upset them but feel strongly that I must act correctly and within the law.
Have I acted unlawfully in witnessing the first POA when I did not actually see it signed? And do you recommend that I decline to sign the husbands POA?
Your help would be much appreciated. Janet Cole.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Thanks. As a witness you are not a party to the deed and therefore you should not have anything too much to worry about providing you were not somehow complicit in the matter and no fraud has been subsequently committed (ie the POA has been used to fraudulently obtain money).

The only party who could get into trouble, if the truth ever came out, was the party who asked you to act as witness.

However, you should refrain from signing the Husband's POA, now that you realise your previous mistake. You should tell your friend the truth and explain the position - if she is a good friend, hopefully she will understand.

I hope this helps and sets out the legal position.

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your assistance. I will follow your advice. It has put my mind at rest - somewhat.

Again many thanks.

Janet Cole

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Janet- the only person who could get into trouble is the person who asked you to sign.

If I have helped, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards

Al

Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10236
Experience: LLB(HONS) 20 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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