can the power attorney back out of a promise witnessed by a lawyer?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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can the power attorney back out of a promise witnessed by a lawyer?

My mom died and had no will and recently
got re-married two years ago. My mom
bought her land 26 years ago. The lawyer
said our best interest was to sign to have her
current husband be the power attorney
knowing he said he is gonna sign the land to
us her children. Can the power of attorney
change there mind after telling a lawyer that
he agreed to sign the land over and not do it.
On top of that question should I have to pay
the lean on my mom land when it was for the
deposit for a rental site the the husband lives
at which is not the land. The current husband
name is not on the deed.

Asked on December 8, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

First, if your mother has passed away, the power of attorney is irrelevant: a power of attorney ends when the person making it passes away.
Second, a non-contractual promise, such as one made without giving "consideration," or something of value, for it is not enforceable; a person may freely renege or go back on such a "gratuitious" promise.
So neither the promise nor the POA appear to any way influence, control, or restrict what happens with the property. Rather, since your mother died "intestate" (without a will) the property will pass by the rules for intestacy in your state, which means her spouse gets the first $50,000 of value of her estate; her chidren will share the balance. And becausehe may renege on his promise, he does not have to sign anything over to the children.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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