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declaration-of-independence-62972_1920In the old days, auctioneers operated more-or-less on a handshake. Seller wanted to sell, and the auctioneer said, “okay” and there was an auction.

In more modern times, and certainly in most auctioneer-license states, auctioneers endeavor (or are required) to enter into a written contract with the seller before conducting an auction.

The seller signature can be that of the owner, such as an individual, or both signatures of a couple, but many times these days, the owner is a business entity of some sort: Partnership, LLC, Corporation, Trust, Estate, Guardianship, etc.

Our topic today is, “Who can sign” for those various business entities? Here’s a list of some of the more common circumstances with the business entity, agent and authorizing document listed:

  • Partnership
      Partner as authorized in the partnership agreement

  • Cooperative
      Director as authorized in the cooperative agreement

  • LLC
      Member as authorized in the operating agreement

  • Corporation
      Officer as authorized by the corporate (C Corp or S Corp) documents

  • Trust
      Trustee as authorized by the trust documents

  • Estate
      Executor of the Estate as provided in the will or Administrator of the estate as appointed by the court

  • Guardianship
      Guardian as appointed by the court (possibly named by the ward prior,) or a legal guardian in the case of a minor

  • Conservatorship
      Conservator as appointed by the court, or in some cases at the direction of the Conservatee

  • Power of Attorney (POA)
      Individual authorized by the POA document to handle the sale of the property, or the owner

We have mentioned various documents here; it is always prudent to accompany the auction contract with a copy of the applicable paperwork — providing proof the signature is authorized.

And lastly, this contract should denote “the undersigned hereby affirms that he/she/they are authorized to sign for the auction of the aforementioned property …” or something to that effect.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.