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Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document authorizing a person to act on another's behalf in a business or legal matter.  The "principal" of the power of attorney gives the "attorney in fact" the power to act and provide legal signature on his behalf in a single or general instance(s) depending upon the authority granted in the power.  The former is usually called a "limited" or "special" power of attorney.  Often a power of attorney is used to complete a real estate transaction where one of the principals cannot be present.

The "attorney in fact" or agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the principal of the power of attorney and is required act in complete honesty and loyalty to the principal.

Although a power of attorney may be an oral agreement, it is common that a written document be produced.  A principal of law called the equal dignity rule requires that parties afford the attorney in fact the same formality as if he/she were the principal of the power.

A power of attorney normally is valid until the death or incapacitation of the principal.  It may be valid in spite of incapacitation but it must specify so in the agreement.  This is referred to as a durable power of attorney.  Durable powers of attorney are often used to appoint an individual to make health care decisions for another.

Another agreement called a "springing power of attorney" can provide that the power only becomes effective upon the happening of a specific event such as the incapacitation of the principal.  In this event, the power of attorney is invalid until and unless the principal becomes incapacitated.

The principal may revoke a power of attorney at any time unless the power states that it is irrevocable.  In that case the power will remain active until the death or incapacitation of one of the parties.

 

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Facts of Law on powers of attorney contracts

Facts of Law - Powers of Attorney