Can a Power of Attorney Sign Loan Documents?


If you are granted power of attorney, you may be able to sign loan agreements on behalf of the person who granted you that power. However, whether you have this right or not depends entirely on factors such as the power of attorney document itself and when you want to enter into the agreement. Talk to a lawyer if you need legal advice about your rights under a power of attorney.

Scope of Powers

  • Powers of attorney can convey as limited or as broad a power as the person granting them desires. A person who grants power of attorney, called the principal, can grant the person or organization receiving the power, known as the attorney-in-fact or the agent, any powers he so chooses, including the right to enter into loan agreements. However, not all powers of attorney grant this right, such as health care powers of attorney that only allow the agent to make health care decisions.


  • Even if a power of attorney grants you the right to act, that doesn't mean you can act right away. A principal also decides when a power of attorney becomes effective and can revoke it at any time. For example, principals often grant springing powers of attorney, powers that do not come into effect until a specific date or on the occurrence of a certain condition. An attorney-in-fact granted springing powers cannot act on the principal's behalf until the conditions that activate the powers are met.


  • Your ability to act as attorney-in-fact lasts only as long as the principal desires. A principal can only grant power of attorney when she is of sound mind, and as long as she remains of sound mind, she can terminate the agreement at will. If the principal loses her mental faculties, the power of attorney is automatically rescinded unless the principal granted a durable power. Durable powers continue to let the agent act even if the principal is incapacitated.


  • No matter what powers are granted and no matter what conditions or limitations are imposed on the agent, an agent's powers of attorney terminate automatically on the death of the principal. Even durable powers do not allow the agent to continue acting after the principal dies. However, loans or agreements the agent enters into on behalf of the principal after the principal dies but before the agent learns of his death are binding, though they are binding on the principal's estate and not the principal himself.


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