Can we establish POA in USA and transfer assets from India?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother can not go back to India to make a will because she is medically not fit to travel. Can we make a POA in NYC, and can that POA help transfer the property (in India) to my name? Which POA form do we have to fill out for the property to be transferred in my name? Do we need a lawyer or can we do it ourselves? Will a POA help in transferring the property or will my mother have to make a will in NYC? I also have other siblings but my mother wants me to put my name for the property and my siblings don't have a problem with it. My name is already as a beneficiary for the property. Please give me a answer in detail. Thank You

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

A power of attorney is probably not what you need. What is more likely in order is changing the title or property document from your mother's name to yours. One of the interesting things you've mentioned is that your name already appears "as a beneficiary" on the property. So depending on exactly how that document reads, it may signify joint ownership"”and be sufficient to pass the property to you, at least at her death.

But there is no way of knowing this without examining the documents that control the property and knowing exactly how title is held. You need to get specific advice on this from a lawyer"”and not just any lawyer will do. You need at least a brief consultation with a lawyer who is familiar with the real estate laws in India.

Perhaps you have a friend or acquaintance who knows of just such a practitioner in the New York City area. The best referrals usually come from word of mouth. But if you are totally stumped about where to begin, try the New York State Bar Association at Briefly explain your specific need"”much as you have done here"”and stress the need for an attorney experienced in India real estate law. Your state's bar association offers legal consultations for $35 per hour in most areas"”and that may be all you need.

You can make the most of the legal consultation by doing a bit of legwork in advance"”especially getting copies of all relevant documents, such as the one naming you property beneficiary if possible.

It also sounds as if it may be an ideal time for your mother to take a look at her entire estate plan"”keeping in mind her larger picture of how she envisions any property she owns to be divided among you and your siblings. You may need to plan for the possibility that she will remain in New York"”at least for an extended recuperation period. This is another reason to consult a local experienced legal expert for help.