I want to share some important facts for you to remember when handling difficult situations and relationships surrounding your auctions.
I would like to share a timeline of events that will prove how quickly your point of contact and or decision maker can change:
1. Client signed contract to secure an auction and requested that certain language is added to the contract. Also, affirming that he or she is the responsible party to conduct all duties during the entire auction process. They were capable, coherent and could clearly state their needs & agree to the responsibilities clearly outlined between Auctioneer and Seller.
2. Days before the auction the client becomes hospitalized and cannot make decisions on their own. You meet the Power Of Attorney (POA). Be sure you find out if they are durable, medical, or financial POA & what responsibilities they have accordingly and keep it for records. You are doing this to make sure this person has the authority they claim & that you are speaking with the right person.
The POA became effective after seller's hospitalization and Seller was unable to make decisions for their self. Make sure to always consult your attorney regarding important definitions. Note that the POA does not have the right to stop decisions set in motion by the Seller. The POA's responsibility is to make decisions on behalf of the Seller that need to be made upon Seller becoming unable to make decisions for oneself.
3. Seller passes away days after an auction is completed, before settlement has taken place.
4. Once the seller has passed away, the POA is no longer in effect. At that point, the Auctioneer could be settling the auction with several different individuals. The important thing to keep in mind is that the person that became your main point of contact may no longer be your point of contact. The Executor of an estate is not necessarily the POA. A Letter of Testamentary will identify the Executor. You could also be dealing with an Attorney or a Judge.
These are important facts to be aware of to protect yourself, your clients, their interests, and all parties involved. I recommend you always consult your attorney. I am not attorney!