designating a power of attorney i am the sole survivor of my mother who…

designating a power of attorney
i am the sole survivor of my mother who resided, and was consequently killed in the small west african nation of sierra leone three years ago. Yesterday, i received a call from a relative of mine who also resides in that country, and he explained that my mother had owned land, but since no one ever claimed the land, others acquired it illegally- a common practice in that country. Anyway, i want to designate the power of attorney, to this relative, who will act on my behalf, since i am abled to travel at this time. how do i go about doing this? will a simple notorized letter do?

–name removed—name removed–

One thought on “designating a power of attorney i am the sole survivor of my mother who…

  1. Re: designating a power of attorney
    Sierra Leone is a Commonwealth nation and therefore has a legal system more or less founded upon English common law, as is the law in the United States.

    However, it is also a country that has been torn by political dissention, corruption and civil war, and I think the jury is still out on whether local institutions can and do function to preserve or protect private property.

    A simple notarized and dated letter appearing on its face to grant a power of attorney would probably be sufficient in California, and if sufficient here, it would probably be recognized in Sierra Leone. HOWEVER:

    The usual method for granting a power of attorney in California is to follow the form outlined in section 4401 of the Probate Code. Note that the Probate Code devotes many pages to powers of attorney (sections 4000 – 4545). You can review the code at a county law library or most general public libraries.

    Further, I would be very hesitant to entrust a relative with a power of attorney. If the property is valuable you might want to consider retaining a reputable Sierra Leonean lawyer to represent you; I suggest asking the U.S. embassy in Freetown for recommendations.

    I also suggest making additional inquiries of both U.S. and Sierra Leonean diplomatic sources in Washington and Freetown about the real estate law of Sierra Leone and the current state of enforcement of private claims in the local courts.

    I think you have quite a battle ahead of you to assert any claim or enjoy any rights, and I would not give a relative a power of attorney without being certain of that relative’s trustworthiness and capability, and also doing some background research on Sierra Leone’s attitude toward foreign property rights and their enforcement.

    Bryan Whipple
    Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
    P O Box 318
    Tomales, CA 94971-0318

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