QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
I live in the USA. My deceased boyfriend lived in Jamaica. We recently built a board house on leased land in Jamaica (JA). He was killed in motorcycle accident less than 2 weeks after he moved into our board house. I went to see the board house. A friend of friend, real estate agent in JA, offered to provide real estate services to sell the house. He says he needs Power of Attorney (PofA) for real estate sale only. He says Power of Attorney from USA not legal in JA. I need JA attorney to draw up. Cost about $200.00 US. Does that sound reasonable? Of course, I prefer drawing up PofA in USA which would cost me less. Another problem…we built board house. No legal title. I have some charge receipts from hardware store in JA for material purchases building house. Most of receipts were in deceased boyfriends name. He had possession of most receipts some can be located. We were not married. Common knowledge I was his “woman” & involved in building and funding house. Landlord where boyfriend leased property where house is located knows I was involved in building house as well as neighbors, friends, family. Boyfriend has one son, teenage, in JA. My boyfriend’s son’s mother is not contesting my right to sell. Several questions here. I am being pressured to sell and get JA real estate man PofA & begin sale before house is vandalized or squatters move in. Can you be of assistance in this complicated matter?
Respectfully, Annie Flowers
RESPONSE: Dear Ms Flowers,
Thanks for writing in.
1. It is not our place to advise you on the fees charged, especially as the full details are unknown
2. Power of Attorney documents notarised only in the US are not within the Jurisdiction of Jamaica, and must be registered within Jamaican jurisdiction to be operable here.
3. It seems that you are saying that no title exists for the property. Please explain further the premise on which your boyfriend gained authority to build the property? What ownership rights did the landlord prove to influence your boyfriend entering into the contract?
4. Your legal rights to the property must be proven. Did your boyfriend leave the property to you in a Will? How long were you and your boyfriend together?
5. Our decision to assist will be based on the responses to the questions above. If we can assist, a fee will be charged.