Q. I'm going to be gone about two months on an extended vacation. I have more than 100 acres of land in Montgomery County up for sale. The real estate broker handling the transaction has suggested I execute a power of attorney to him to enter into a sales contract for the land if he should find a buyer who meets my terms, while I'm gone. Is this a good idea? What should I be careful about if I give the power of attorney? P.M., Maryland.
A. It may be the best solution to the problem your extended absence may cause. If the broker does get a buyer while you're absent who's ready, willing and able to meet your terms, either he'll have to send the sales contract to you (wherever you may be), or someone here will need a power of attorney to execute the sales contract for you . . . or there can be no binding contract.
Youl will want to give a special (not general) power of attorney to execute a sales contract for the land in accordance with your instructions and desires. Limit the power of attorney to these circumstances. Specifically spell out the terms that are acceptable to you. Make it clear that the person to whom you give the power of attorney is limited in his authority to (1) sale of the described land, (2) on the terms you set out.
Also, bear in mind that a power of attorney must be made with the same "solemnity" as the instruction for which it's used. That means (among other things) that your power of attorney for the sale of real estate must be in writing.
Q. I just bought 115 acres in Loudoun County which I ultimately hope to subdivide and develop. But presently it's useable as grazing land. My accountant has started talking about AUM's. He says that stands for "Animal Unit Month." That's fine. But what does it mean?
A! Is your accountant from "out West." This term is used more there than here. It means the number of farm animals (for example, normally, one mature cow or bull. Five mature sheep, two mature sows or boars) that can be grazed one month without damaging the natural vegetative cover of the grazing land. For example, if your 115 acres can graze 80 cows for six months, your acreage has a grazing capacity rating of 480 AUM's . . . slightly less than a fourth of an acres per AUM.