What is Attorney In Fact?
When one person signs a document appointing another person to act on his behalf, he has appointed an attorney in fact, or someone to stand in his place. The person doing the appointing is called the principal, and the person being authorized to act on his behalf is called the attorney in fact. The person appointed does not actually need to be an attorney or lawyer, but it does need to be a person who is designated in writing to act for the principal. A power of attorney is the usual document for making such an appointment.
How to Name an Attorney in Fact
To make another person an attorney in fact requires the signature of a legal document. Depending on the reason for appointing an attorney in fact, this could be a power of attorney, or it also might be a specific form from a bank or hospital.
What Can an Attorney in Fact Do?
The legal document appointing the attorney in fact will detail exactly what he is authorized to do. For example, he may be able to complete financial transactions, make medical decisions, or sign documents on behalf of the person signing the power of attorney. The person appointed is essentially the agent of the principal, so his actions and signature will be binding on the principal as if he had signed himself.
Why Do I Need an Attorney in Fact?
Signing a power of attorney may be a good idea if you are going on a long trip and need to authorize someone to manage your affairs while you are gone. A durable power of attorney will give another person authority to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Powers of attorney can be dangerous if misused, so take care in choosing your attorney in fact and limit the length of time that a power of attorney s effective.