How to sign as power of attorney (POA).

A woman uses her laptop to learn how to sign as power of attorney (POA).

Learn more about the requirements of signing as a power of attorney, including whether electronic signatures are allowed.

When you act as someone’s power of attorney (POA), many important decisions can fall to you. These may include making medical decisions, handling personal or business finances, or closing the sale of a home or property, just to name a few. Let’s explore what you need to know so you can learn how to sign as power of attorney when needed.

What does signing as power of attorney mean?

POA is a legal arrangement that allows one person to make important decisions on behalf of another. This authority can cover various areas, including financial, medical, or legal matters. A power of attorney document is a legal instrument that assigns an individual, known as the attorney-in-fact or agent, to act on behalf of the principal. The principal is the person who grants this authority, and it’s typically done when they are competent to make decisions. The specific powers granted in a POA can vary widely and are defined within the document. It’s essential for both the principal and the agent to have a clear understanding of the scope of authority, responsibilities, and any limitations that are outlined in the document.

Who can sign as power of attorney?

Not just anyone can sign as a power of attorney. It’s a responsibility that’s usually granted by the principal capable of making decisions. When signing as a POA, the chosen individual is the agent, and they must be legally eligible and have the principal’s trust. In most jurisdictions, a person signing as power of attorney must be of legal age and be considered mentally competent. There are also rules in place to prevent conflicts of interest. The principal should carefully consider the person they choose as their agent, as this individual will be making important decisions on their behalf.

What to do before signing as POA.

When you’re signing as power of attorney, it’s a good idea to first ask the bank or other institution you’re dealing with whether your signature needs to appear in any certain way. Style formats may differ depending on the transaction type, and if your signature isn’t in the acceptable format, it could slow down the process.

Expect to sign with your full name, followed by the appropriate nomenclature, such as attorney-in-fact. Here are common formatting styles you may see:

How to sign as a power of attorney legally.

When learning how to sign documents as power of attorney, with every transaction, it’s imperative to indicate that you are signing as power of attorney. If you forget to add your official role, you could be held personally responsible for a transaction. On the other hand, if you sign as the principal rather than in your own name, you could potentially face penalties for fraud or forgery.

In most cases, both paper and electronic signatures are acceptable. However, requirements can vary from state to state. If you’re uncertain, it’s advisable to double-check with the bank, other institution, or a lawyer to make sure you’re in compliance and an electronic signature is legally binding.

Make signing as power of attorney easy.

Use resources to help you navigate the legal requirements smoothly and keep thorough records, making the experience of signing as power of attorney more efficient and manageable for all parties involved. When you’re ready, take a moment to discover everything you can do with Adobe Acrobat to simplify the signing process for any type of document and keep important papers moving.