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Last Updated March 21, 2009


Person authorized to act on behalf of another person, usually as stated within a legal document known as a power of attorney (POA). The person giving the authority for the attorney-in-fact to act on his/her behalf is the grantor or principal.


IRS Definition: An agent authorized by a person under a power of attorney to perform certain act(s) or kind(s) of acts for that person (Publication 947)


Referring Cite

State law

Additional Helpful Information

Financial institutions should be consulted to determine if and when they would accept POAs. Many will accept POAs, but only in limited cases. For instance:

  • Some will not use a POA to change a beneficiary designation
  • Some will only allow the attorney-in-fact to complete transactions that are specifically identified in the POA.