Brief Fact Summary. Objector, Mary Deonne Greene (Objector), niece of Testator Amelia D. Huston (Testator) and a residuary beneficiary under Testator’s will, appeals from a lower court ruling entered for Petitioner John E. Amberg, attorney-in-fact and financial representative (Petitioner). Objected contends that the judgment should be reversed because the evidence indicates that the annuity gift to Petitioner was void.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A power of attorney is a written authorization to an agent to perform specified acts on behalf of a trust principal; as such, ratification of an agent’s act could only be made in the manner that was necessary to confer original authority.
A power of attorney conferring authority to sell, exchange, transfer or convey real property for the benefit of the principal does not authorize a conveyance as a gift or without a substantial consideration and a conveyance without the scope of the power conferred is void.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was Testator’s oral assent to the gift of an annuity to Petitioner adequate to ratify the gift?
Held. No. A power of attorney is a written authorization to an agent to perform specified acts on behalf of a trust principal; as such, ratification of an agent’s act could only be made in the manner that was necessary to confer original authority. Verbal assent to a gift is not adequate to supercede the terms of the written agreement. The gift to Petitioner is void as having been outside Petitioner’s authority under his power of attorney. Ratification of the act could only have been made in the manner that was necessary to create the original authority. The judgment of the trial court is reversed.
Discussion. The Court determined that even though the evidence indicated that Testator intended to give the annuity gift to Petitioner, the gift was still outside of the reach of the Petitioner because this power was not given in writing, as the power of attorney must be in order to be valid.