Power Of Attorney Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Power Of Attorney, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Power Of Attorney?

It is an instrument in writing and signed by a person (known as principal) who authorizes another person as his agent. The agent is given the right such as signing checks, tax audits, transact business, signing legal documents etc. The agent is also known as Attorney-in- Fact.The power of attorney or letter of attorney ceases to be effective on the death of the principal or termination of agreement in the letter .The power can be general, specific or limited in nature and types.

History and Meaning of Power Of Attorney

The power of attorney is a legal instrument that can be traced back to ancient Rome, where it was known as "procuratio". The document was used to appoint someone to act on behalf of another person in legal and financial matters. The concept of power of attorney has since become an essential part of modern-day legal systems and is recognized worldwide.

A power of attorney can give an individual the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person, whether it be in healthcare, financial or legal matters. The powers granted can be general or specific, and the document can be revoked by the person who signed it, as long as they have the mental capacity to do so.

Examples of Power Of Attorney

  1. A person with a terminal illness may grant a power of attorney to a family member or close friend, allowing them to make decisions about end-of-life care.

  2. An elderly person who is no longer able to manage their finances may grant a power of attorney to a trusted relative or advisor, giving them the authority to handle financial matters on their behalf.

  3. A business owner who is unable to attend to certain aspects of their business may grant a power of attorney to an employee or colleague, authorizing them to act on behalf of the business in specific matters.

Legal Terms Similar to Power Of Attorney

  1. Letter of Attorney - A document that establishes the authority of one person to act on behalf of another.

  2. Healthcare Proxy - A document that allows someone else to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the patient.

  3. Durable Power Of Attorney - A power of attorney that remains in effect even if the grantor becomes incapacitated.

  4. Limited Power Of Attorney - A power of attorney that grants the agent only specific or limited powers.