How to sign as power of attorney.

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 when it comes time to sign.

Know the nomenclature.

At its simplest, a power of attorney agreement enables a person to name a representative who can officially act on their behalf. The “principal” is the person who creates the power of attorney, authorizing someone as their legal representative. The “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” commonly refers to that representative, who will then have the “power of attorney.” This nomenclature is important to remember when it comes time to sign a legal document, because you’ll pair it with your signature.

Make your signature count.

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:

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.

When you’re ready, take a moment to discover everything you can do with Adobe Acrobat Sign to simplify the signing process for any type of document and keep important papers moving.