How to Sign as Power of Attorney
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How to Sign as Power of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) documentation is written authorization enabling an individual (known as the principal) to designate a trusted family member or friend (known as the agent or attorney in fact) for managing particular healthcare decisions or legal and/or financial duties for them. Once signing as power of attorney, it is critical to clearly declare that you are acting on the principal’s behalf and not contracting for any debts or transaction on a personal level.

It is wise to ask the establishment requesting a signature if they need it to look a specific way since some bank paperwork and legal documents need be signed using a particular format. Nevertheless, of how the signature looks, don’t ever sign your name without declaring in writing that you’re signing being attorney in fact. Use the following tips on how to sign utilizing power of attorney to evade any problems.

  1. Have a copy of the POA document with you when signing anything on the principal’s behalf. The POA might presently be on file with the institution you’re working alongside, but the process is usually faster and easier when you can provide the document when requested.
  2. Write your principal’s name first on the signature line. This guarantees that the principal is the one participating in the contract and/or transaction.
  3. At the end of the principals name, print the word “by” and then sign your name.
  4. Principals name, by agent’s signature.
  5. Under or following the signature line, clarify your position as POA by including the next identifications: as Agent, as Power of Attorney or as Attorney in Fact.

Example Signature as a Power of Attorney

When getting into an agreement as Agent, the subsequent POA signature sample for James Doe (principal and/or parent) and Jennifer Doe (agent and/or adult child) indicates what an appropriate signed paperwork needs to look like:

James Doe, by Jennifer Doe as POA

Responsibilities of an Attorney in Fact

An individual that acts under a power of attorney is known as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is an individual that is responsible for handling some or all of another individuals matters. The fiduciary has a responsible to act judiciously and in the way that is just to the individual whose matters they are handling. An attorney in fact that in violation of those responsibilities may face criminal charges or could be accountable in a civil lawsuit.

Because of this type of relationship, any transaction in which you are going to personally benefit can being up questions about if you are acting in the individual who gave you the power of attorney best interests. It’s wise to speak with a lawyer prior to signing as power of attorney in transactions where you are going to reap significant benefits.

What to Look Out For

Don’t overstep your authority. Power of attorney documentation might give you extensive power for business transactions, or your powers could be more restricted. Be sure you understand what you can and can’t do as attorney in fact and speak with a lawyer when you need explanation. You might face civil or criminal penalties for unapproved transactions.

Not adding the power of attorney terminology to your signature. When you sign a document in your own name without clarifying that you are representing as a power of attorney, you might be held personally responsible for the transaction. When you sign just the principal’s name, you may face criminal or civil penalties for fraud or falsification.

A power of attorney can be priceless when you are required to manage the affairs of an ailing family member or sign documentation on behalf of an individual that is unavailable. If you act as attorney in act for an individual, be sure you understand your power and obligations, and always sign in a way that clarifies that that you are representing a power of attorney.


  1. Haskins, J. (2020, September 05). How to sign as power of attorney. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

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