Who should sign a sale and purchase agreement

Posted on Monday, November 18 2013

When a property is owned by more than one person, who should sign the sale and purchase agreement?

Two or more individuals:
A spouse or de facto partner does not have the authority to sign the agreement for the other spouse or partner, unless one person has appointed the other as that person’s agent. It is possible for someone to have “implied authority”. This is where one person, by words or conduct, has lead a third party to believe that the other person has authority to act on that person’s behalf. However, it is best not to have to argue the point. It is safer to make sure that if there are two people on the other side of a deal, they both sign the contract.

A trust can only act through its’ trustess, and generally the trustees’ decisions must be unanimous (altough this can be varied by the trust deed).
All of the trustees of a trust must therefore sign an agreement, unless the trustees who do not sign have confirmed in writing that the trustee who does sign has been authorised by the non signing trustee to act on his or her behalf.

Someone who has the expressed or implied authority of the expressed or implied authority of the company may bind the company. Therefore, even if there are two or more directors of a company, only one director needs to sign an agreement to bind the company.

Mike Toepfer – Aspiring Law


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Expert's Bio

Mike Toepfer

Aspiring Law is a general practice firm, offering the best in legal services and advice to our local Upper Clutha community, as well as our national and international clients. We recently launched our new firm, after taking over AWS Legal’s Wanaka office. We’ve carefully tailored our firm’s services and culture to meet the needs of our business, and wider, community. Clients from further afield also draw on our specialist expertise, particularly advice and support around property, including large-scale developments, and agribusiness. As our clients have come to expect, the cornerstone of our new practice remains excellent, timely advice, underpinned by personalised, genuine service and support. Further to that, we’re really excited about building further on our community-based initiatives to educate and inform people on legal issues, and do our part in finding meaningful, innovative ways to support our area. Before that I was at large Auckland firm Hesketh Henry for 17 years - over 13 years as a partner and 10 years on the firm's board of management and as property team leader. I have specialised in all types of property transactions for the last 27 years.

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