does the term ‘including but not limited to’ define a protocol

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does the term ‘including but not limited to’ define a protocol

separation agreement gives to the husband sole responsibility for ‘all decisions
with respect to the sale of the Residence including but not limited to, listing
agent, listing price, price reductions and sale price and shall act reasonably
and appropriately under the then circumstances.’

Does the term ‘including but not limited to’ imply that those items listed must
be included in the procedure, that is, am I required to get an agent, list the
property, etc. Am I in contempt if I sell the property privately, without an
agent or a listing?

Asked on March 6, 2017 under Family Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the language before or after what you quoted (most likely before) uses the term "may" (or something similar, in that it is permissive) or "shall" (or anything similar indicating that you must or shall do the following). If the mandatory ("shall," "must," etc.) is used, you have to do the listed things; if the language is permssive, you have the authority to do them if you wish, but are not required to do each--in  that case, you could arrange a private sale so long as  it is (more or less) for market value. A non-market value sale would trigger scrutiny and could possibly subject you to liability.


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