How to Sign as Power Of Attorney ?

How to Sign as Power Of Attorney ?

At the time you are signing as someone’s power of attorney, you must sure that you are legally signing on their behalf.

Power of attorney is a legal document that provides someone the authority to sign documents and conduct transactions on behalf of another person. 

A person who holds the power of attorney is also known as an attorney-in-fact.

Many people sign a durable power of attorney also known as a financial power of attorney, to give the power to conduct financial transactions for them if they become incapacited to their friend or family member.

To give someone else the authority to make medical decisions if they are unable to do so, people also sign health care power of attorney.

There are also other uses of power of attorney. If you can’t do a particular transaction yourself, such as signing documents at a real estate closing, when you are out of town.

Points to be consider at the time of Signing as Power of Attorney

At the time of signing a document as someone’s attorney-in-fact, your signature needs to make it clear that you, not they, are signing the document and you are acting on behalf of the authority of a power of attorney.

To understand how this works, let’s suppose your name is G Smith and you have power of attorney to act for your friend Michel Jones. 

You could sign a document in either one of the following ways :

“Michel Jones, by  G Smith under POA”

“G Smith, attorneys-in-fact for Michel Jones”

Before signing it is a good idea to ask if there is a preferred format for your signature. Sometimes banks or other institutions will only accept a power of attorney signature if it is written in a certain way. 

Without indicating that you are signing under a power of attorney, you should never sign your name or the other person’s name.

Always bring your power of attorney document with you and when you transact business on someone else’s behalf and make sure the people you do business with know that you are acting under a power of attorney.

Duties of an Attorney-in-Fact

A fiduciary/ guardian is a person who acts under a power of attorney.

Someone who is responsible for managing some or all of another person’s affairs is known as a depositary.

The depositary has a duty to act wisely and in a way that is fair to the person whose affairs he or she is managing. 

An attorney-in-fact can face criminal charges or can be held liable in a civil lawsuit, who violates those duties.

Due to this fiduciary relationship, any transaction where you will personally benefit can raise questions about whether you are acting in the best interest of the person who gave you the power of attorney. 

It is a good idea to consult a lawyer before signing as power of attorney in a transaction where you will gain durable l benefits.

Things to Watch out For

Do  not exceed your authority. 

A power of attorney document either may give you wide power to transact business, or your powers may be more limited.

Make sure you understand what you are and are not allowed to do as attorney-in-fact and consult a lawyer if you need clarification. 

For unauthorised transactions 

you could face civil or criminal penalties.

Without indicating that you are acting under a power of attorney, if you sign a document in your own name you could be held personally responsible for the transaction. You could face criminal or civil penalties for fraud or forgery, if you sign only the principal’s name, 

A power of attorney can be invaluable if you want to manage the affairs of an ailing relative or sign documents on behalf of someone who is unavailable. 

If you act as attorney-in-fact for someone, make sure you understand your authority and responsibility and always sign in a way that indicates that you are acting under a power of attorney.

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